Background: Poorly-executed transitions out of the hospital contribute significant costs to the healthcare system. Several evidence-based interventions can reduce post-discharge utilization.
Objective: To evaluate the cost avoidance associated with implementation of the Care Transitions Intervention (CTI).
Design: A quasi-experimental cohort study using consecutive convenience sampling.
Patients: Fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized from 1 January 2009 to 31 May 2011 in six Rhode Island hospitals.
Intervention: The CTI is a patient-centered coaching intervention to empower individuals to better manage their health. It begins in-hospital and continues for 30 days, including one home visit and one to two phone calls.
Main measures: We examined post-discharge total utilization and costs for patients who received coaching (intervention group), who declined or were lost to follow-up (internal control group), and who were eligible, but not approached (external control group), using propensity score matching to control for baseline differences.
Key results: Compared to matched internal controls (N = 321), the intervention group had significantly lower utilization in the 6 months after discharge and lower mean total health care costs ($14,729 vs. $18,779, P = 0.03). The cost avoided per patient receiving the intervention was $3,752, compared to internal controls. Results for the external control group were similar. Shifting of costs to other utilization types was not observed.
Conclusions: This analysis demonstrates that the CTI generates meaningful cost avoidance for at least 6 months post-hospitalization, and also provides useful metrics to evaluate the impact and cost avoidance of hospital readmission reduction programs.