Case Management

CMW mentor moment: Length of stay should not be a secret

Case Management Weekly, January 6, 2010

The following article is an excerpt from HCPro’s resource for hospital case managers—www.CaseManagementMentor.com—a free blog dedicated to connecting hospital case managers to industry pacesetters, peers, and best practices.

Hospital organizations need to realize and act upon the fact that discharge planning begins at the time of admission. In 2007, MedPac (Medicare Payment Advisory Committee) told Congress that readmissions cost the government $15 billion a year. Since then, there has been a strong emphasis placed on readmissions.

Each hospital should track the Geometric LOS provided by Medicare, which can be used as a reference tool. Let’s say, for example, you admit a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the average LOS is 3.2 days. You can use this information to establish the amount of time the healthcare team has to implement an effective and successful discharge plan. Patients must be part of this plan and need to know what the average LOS is; however, patients must understand that each stay is individualized and their physician will ultimately determine their appropriate discharge time.

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