DRCOG Selected for Medicare Initiative to Save on Health Care Costs through Reduced Hospital Readmissions

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today congratulated the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) on being selected as a participant in the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) to lower health care costs by reducing hospital readmissions. 

Bennet, who authored the Care Transitions program in the Affordable Care Act, supported DRCOG’s application.  DRCOG is one of 35 participants that will work with local hospitals and other health care and social service providers to support Medicare patients who are at increased risk of being readmitted to the hospital while transitioning from hospital stays to their homes, a nursing home, or other care settings.

“Colorado has been a leader in demonstrating how a strong coordinated care network can lead to better results at a lower cost to our seniors,” Bennet said. “This initiative will help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries in the Denver-metro area will have the right support as they transition from a hospital to their homes – ultimately saving the region in Medicare costs.

As the designated Area Agency on Aging in the Denver metropolitan area, DRCOG will serve Medicare beneficiaries living in eight counties. The expansive community partnership works across the care continuum, leveraging two health systems and multiple downstream providers such as skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and various non-profit entities. The hospitals include Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, Medical Center of Aurora, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, Presbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center, North Suburban Medical Center and Rose Medical Center.

The CCTP is part of the Partnership for Patients, a public-private partnership aiming to cut preventable errors in hospitals and reduce potentially preventable hospital readmissions. More information on the CCTP, including the participants announced today, is available at:  http://go.cms.gov/caretransitions.

The Medicare Care Transitions Act was based on pioneering work being done in Denver and Grand Junction to deliver higher-quality care to patients at a significantly lower cost. The measure authorizes Medicare to spend $500 million over 5 years to expand the number of sites that offer transition coaching and reimburse those sites for some of the costs. The initial 14-city demonstration saved an estimated $100 million in the 18 months. The goal of the program is to improve transitions of beneficiaries from the inpatient hospital setting to other care settings, to improve quality of care, to reduce readmissions for high risk beneficiaries, and to document measurable savings to the Medicare program.