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Stephen Rosenthal on Penalty Programs for Hospital Readmissions


For as much as penalty programs for hospital readmissions have created challenges, they’ve also created awareness, said Stephen Rosenthal, chief operating officer of The Care Management Company at Montefiore Medical Center.

According to Stephen Rosenthal, chief operating officer of The Care Management Company at Montefiore Medical Center, penalty programs were created as a reminder that some hospital admissions could have been prevented had the community had access to the appropriate resources they needed. Rosenthal explained that hospitals are just now grasping this idea, where they are beginning to work more closely with the communities they service.

Transcript (slightly modified)

Are penalty programs for hospital readmissions doing the job?

Ironically, for as much as they’ve created challenges, they’ve created awareness. And so, I think the first thing I think I need to recognize is that systems that never really paid much attention to the populations that they serviced and just essentially allowed the process to move forward are now taking a step back and saying, ‘are these the right patients? Should they be in the hospital? Should there be alternatives? And should I be managing that alternative with the community and the providers that use my facility?’

So it’s created a new level of awareness and a new process of thinking about what really belongs in a hospital versus what has perhaps traditionally been there. Part of the reason why there’s a penalty, there has been the belief that some significant percentage of hospital admissions are unnecessary if the community has the appropriate resources to manage those individuals.

And so I think hospitals are beginning to work with the communities to develop that and I think we’ve seen, just based on the data, that there has been some real reductions in readmissions over time that has saved the system a great deal of dollars. And I think for that to continue, it needs to morph into this population management strategy.

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