Case Management

Mentor moment: Discharge planning in a changing healthcare environment

Case Management Weekly, September 26, 2012

Defining discharge planning in a healthcare system undergoing reform is a challenge. In particular, it is a challenge because the role and function have morphed into a process that is more encompassing within hospitals and post-acute care settings. Rarely is someone’s title that of discharge planner. And rarely are staff members responsible only for discharge planning. 

Discharge planning arguably remains the most patient-centric function within case management; definitions of the core functions support this view. Legislation requiring utilization review came first in 1972; discharge planning was next in 1988. CMS considers utilization review and discharge planning basic hospital functions. Simply, if hospitals accept any money from CMS, they must provide those functions. Case management is not subject to dedicated regulation. Instead, it is a combination of these two functions that gives case managers great job security. 

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from Discharge Planning Guide: Tools for Compliance, Third Edition, published by HCPro, Inc.

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