What We're Reading: Patient Discharge Readiness; Arkansas Medicaid Waiver; CDC Head Scrutinized

Patient Readiness at Discharge Can Predict Readmission Likeliness

Arkansas Submits Waiver to Tighten Medicaid Eligibility, Impose Work Requirements

A study in 15 European hospitals aimed to analyze the predictability and preventability of being readmitted after discharge. The findings, which were published in BMJ Quality & Safety, revealed that patients, caregivers, and clinicians usually considered different factors relevant in whether readmission was likely or avoidable. However, all agreed that readmission was less likely if the patient reported feeling ready to be discharged during the initial hospital stay. The researchers recommend that physicians ask more questions about the patient’s readiness to go home. Arkansas has submitted a waiver to CMS that would reduce the number of residents by around 60,000 and institute work requirements on beneficiaries. Modern Healthcare reports that the waiver application, called Arkansas Works, would lower the Medicaid eligibility level from 138% to 100% of the federal poverty line, essentially rolling back Medicaid expansion. Governor Asa Hutchinson said the changes would "seek to test innovative approaches to promoting personal responsibility and work.” Other states have submitted similar requests with work requirements, but CMS has not yet approved any.

New CDC Director Criticized Over Obesity Program Sponsored by Coca-Cola

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, has been director of CDC for less than a week, but some observers are already asking questions about the childhood obesity program she led as Georgia’s public health commissioner in 2012. According to the Washington Post, the program was partially funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation, and focused more on physical exercise than eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary sodas. When asked for comment, a CDC spokesperson said, “CDC has a focus on scientific integrity and a deep commitment to ethical, innovative partnerships that advance the agency’s lifesaving mission.”