Background: A primary care-staffed transition clinic is one potential strategy for reducing 30-day re-admissions for patients without an established primary care physician, but the effectiveness has not been studied. The objective was to test whether patients who completed a postdischarge transition clinic appointment were less likely to be readmitted within 30 days.
Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study included adults with Medicare or Medicaid coverage who were discharged from general medicine units at Rush University Medical Center between October 2013 and October 2014. All patients had a follow-up appointment scheduled within 30 days of discharge in the transition clinic or with their primary care physician. A binary logistic regression model was constructed to test the relationship between 30-day readmission and follow-up appointment status, controlling for patient factors.
Results: The sample included 1149 patients with scheduled follow-up appointments (24% in the transition clinic and 76% with their primary care physician). After controlling for patient demographic characteristics and clinical factors, patients who did not complete a scheduled transition clinic appointment had approximately 3 times higher odds of readmission compared with patients who completed a transition clinic appointment (adjusted odds ratio, 2.80; P = .004). There was no significant difference in the likelihood of 30-day readmission between patients completing a transition clinic appointment and those who were scheduled with their primary care physician.
Conclusions: A primary care-staffed transition clinic is a promising strategy for providing access after a recent hospitalization and effectively managing the initial posthospital discharge needs of vulnerable populations.
Keywords: Care management; Postdischarge follow-up; Primary care; Transition clinic.
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