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Avoidable hospitalizations a top concern

ALTOONA, Pa., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Avoidable hospitalizations is the top patient-related concern facing homecare agencies, hospitals and healthcare nationwide, U.S. researchers found.

The study commissioned by homecare industry leaders including: Delta Health Technologies, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and the Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign involved a survey and in-depth interviews of more than 1,000 homecare agencies.

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The study found the agencies throughout the country had a shared understanding of the various hospitalization reduction practices and used them at a high rate.

"Every 3 percent reduction in the hospitalization rate equates to nearly 100,000 patients staying in their homes, and approximately $700 million in savings to the Medicare program," Keith Crownover, president and chief executive officer of Delta Health Technologies, said in a statement.

"We believe that this report will provide homecare providers, consultants and vendors with the insights necessary to make a significant impact. The real winners will be patients, who will be treated in a more responsive, respectful and caring fashion, and who will avoid the trauma of being sent back to the hospital."

The Medicare & Medicaid Research Review found in 2011, 3.4 million Medicare recipients were served by more than 11,000 home healthcare agencies nationwide, with re-hospitalization rates hovering around 29 percent.

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