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The US health care system continues to impose an additional burden of the taxpayers. Statistics have projected that, in the next ten years, this burden is likely to increase by seventy nine percent. This implies more than three quarters higher of its current sizes, thus exceeding five hundred billion dollars a year. Such an astronomical increase would certainly force the government to redirect funds from other crucial areas to cater for the mandatory Medicare. Twenty nine percent of the Medicare costs goes for inpatients medical costs. It is estimated that the cost will continue to increase with an annual projection growth rate of six percent. Most of these funds are spent for payment of medical expenses for a small number of patients with chronic conditions. These patients, who comprise mostly the elderly, tend to have multiple conditions such as diabetes and coronary diseases. Among the many challenges encountered in the health care system, are quality problems. According to Stone & Goeffrey (2010) in their report to congress, one in every five patients discharged from US hospitals become readmitted within thirty days after being discharged. Most of the patient affected are those with multiple chronic diseases or conditions. This accounts for the increasing rates in usage of medicare funds among this group. The chronically ill patients also make up the highest percentage of the readmission cases. Stone & Goeffrey (2010) further claim that most of the readmission cases can be prevented. This assumes that there is a higher readmission rate among the elderly inpatients after they are discharged from hospitals. This according to Stone & Goeffrey (2010) is an indication of poor health care services and lack of proper coordination during the discharge process. Among the many factors that contribute to readmission of avoidable cases, include poor coordination in transition between the different care providers. This means that there is poor link between the hospital and the subsequent care providers after discharge. More appropriately, there is a lack of effective communication between the hospitals and community based care givers. Hospital readmission can affect the patients morale and prolong the recovery process (Ryan, Aloe, & Mason-Johnson, 2009). In addition, readmission is a strain on the medical care providers as well as the hospitals. As such, it is a problem that needs to be researched and addressed.
Most of the chronically ill patientsarereadmitted thirty days after being discharged. These readmissions can be avoided if hospitals improved their coordination with the community based care givers.
Improved coordination between hospitals and community based care givers can drastically reduce readmission of the elderly chronically ill patients.
Rationale for the research
Many studies have shown that the health care system is burdened by unavoidable hospital readmissions. Available literature, indicates that one in every five patients discharged from hospitals get readmitted, within thirty days after being discharge (Struinin, Stone, & Jack, 2007). Additionally, statistics indicate that the Medicare costs continue to increase exponentially, with a projection of over seventy percent gain within the next ten years. Such an increase already overburdened health care system and can impose serious quality issues if not checked and corrected. The research, therefore, is intended to develop alternative health care policies, which can adequately address the problem.
The research will mainly address the problem of readmission among the elderly chronically ill patients. The admission data will, therefore, be required to determine whether individuals can be classified in this group. In addition, discharge data will be required to determine the coordination between the hospitals and community based care givers.