Nursing homes participating in a new $128 million federal program to reduce avoidable hospitalizations can count on technology to help them implement evidence-based interventions that improve care and lower costs, according to CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan. Applications for the Affordable Care Act Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Among Nursing Facility Residents are due June 14.

“Electronic health records, health information exchange, remote monitoring and other telehealth solutions would be useful elements of any program that aims to prevent rehospitalizations,” says Alwan. “These tools can help promote the kind of coordinated and personalized care that older adults need to avoid health crises that often bring them back into the acute care system.”

Program details

The rehospitalization initiative, sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will enable nursing homes to collaborate with independent organizations on efforts aimed at preventing residents from returning to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. 

The initiative will focus on long-stay nursing facility residents who are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

Program funds will go to independent, non-nursing facility organizations like physician groups, accountable care organizations and other independent entities. Those organizations will collaborate with states to implement evidence-based interventions in at least 15 partnering nursing facilities.

Participating organizations could use technology to meet several initiative goals, including improved communication among existing providers and better coordinated medication management and monitoring. CMS reports that past demonstrations have implemented quality improvement and communications tools to identify, assess, communicate and document changes in resident status.

Reducing preventable rehospitalizations is a national issue

Reducing preventable rehospitalizations has become a national issue in recent years because these hospital stays are often expensive, disruptive and disorienting for frail elders and people with disabilities, according to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

CMS estimates that costs associated with preventable readmissions exceed $17 billion each year. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that 19% of all hospital stays among Medicare patients aged 65 and older represent readmissions that occur within 30 days of discharge.

Application deadlines

Notices of Intent to Apply for the new initiative are due April 30, 2012. Proposals are due by June 14, 2012. The Request for Applications is available by searching for CFDA Number 93.621 at