Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments Selected for Initiative to Save on Medicare Costs

Community-based Care Transitions Program Designed to Save Costs by Reducing Hospital Readmissions

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today congratulated the Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments (UAACOG) on being selected as a participant in the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) to lower health care costs by reducing hospital readmissions. Bennet authored the Care Transitions program in the Affordable Care Act.

UAACOG is one of 20 new 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.

The program is credited with helping reduce the rate of readmissions of Medicare patients, which remained static prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“The Care Transitions program continues to produce remarkable results with a significant reduction in the number of Medicare patients that need to be readmitted to the hospital,” Bennet said. “Colorado led the way in demonstrating how a strong coordinated care network can lead to better results at a lower cost. This initiative will help providers in the Arkansas Valley build upon the successes we are seeing in Denver and Grand Junction to support our seniors as they transition from a hospital to their homes – ultimately saving the region in Medicare costs.”

UAACOG, located in Canon City, Colorado, will lead an expansive partnership delivering the Care Transitions Intervention to Medicare beneficiaries in El Paso, Pueblo, Fremont, Chaffee, Custer, Lake, and Teller counties.

Many of these beneficiaries reside in medically-underserved and rural areas, and small communities. Providers across the care continuum include acute care hospitals (Centura Health-Penrose St. Francis Health Services, Memorial Hospital Central, Centura Health – St. Mary Corwin Medical Center, Parkview Medical Center and Centura Health – St. Thomas More Hospital), critical access hospitals (St. Vincent Hospital General District, Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, and Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center), a Federally-Qualified Health Center (Peak Vista Community Health Center) along with the Pueblo Area Agency on Aging, and Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging.

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.