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Medline Launches First-of-Its Kind Solution to Help Nursing Homes Reduce Hospital Readmissions

MUNDELEIN, Ill., July 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- One in five patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within 30 days and one in three goes back within 90 days, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS estimates that Medicare alone spends $17 billion annually on avoidable readmissions. And now, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hospitals, and possibly nursing homes in the future, are expected to help foot the bill for these costly rehospitalizations.

To help reduce readmissions, Medline Industries, Inc., the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical and surgical supplies, has launched the first-of-its-kind readmission tracking and analysis tool for nursing homes. Integrated into the abaqis® Quality Management System marketed by Medline, this new readmission module measures a nursing home's readmission rate and enables them to identify and analyze trends in the facility that cause readmissions so the facility can rectify the problem areas and improve resident care.

"Since we service hospitals as well as long-term care facilities with clinical programs and supplies, Medline is in a unique position to provide leading-edge tools and solutions, like the new abaqis readmissions module, to improve transitions in patient care and ultimately provide better outcomes," said Andy Mills, president of Medline. "Hospitals are at risk of losing millions of dollars if their readmission rates are out of line, so they want to send their patients to long-term care facilities that can show them through hard data that they have low rates of rehospitalizations – and through abaqis, Medline can help nursing homes get there."

The new abaqis readmission tracking tool will help nursing homes identify the root causes for readmissions by analyzing patterns of readmissions within a facility, such as identifying the hospital a resident was admitted from; the day, time and shift when the readmission occurred; physician coverage during the time of the transfer; and the reason for the transfer. The readmission tracking tool identifies readmissions for the three hospital diagnoses currently in the ACA's "Hospital Readmissions Reduction" law, including pneumonia, heart failure and acute myocardial infarction.

"An important part of any strategy to reduce readmissions is to accurately measure and monitor the hospitalization rates so the facility can track its progress and compare its performance to other nursing homes," said Dr. Andy Kramer, chief executive officer of Providigm (developers of abaqis) and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. "The challenge is to measure rates using rigorous risk adjustment methods to ensure that differences in readmission rates are not the result of differences in the case mix that we know exist among nursing homes. The Providigm team, which developed the risk adjustment methods that have been used by MedPAC in its annual reporting of readmission rates, has developed an updated and highly predictive risk model for the abaqis system that provides current risk-adjusted rates for users."

Nearly 2,000 facilities throughout the country are using abaqis, a web-based quality assurance tool that helps facilities implement quality assurance programs, to measure performance improvement, track readmissions and measure customer satisfaction.

"Using the readmission tracking system saved us an incredible amount of time in identifying the areas of our facility that needed to be improved and the residents that were at most risk for a rehospitalization," said Carmen Shell, vice president of clinical services for MorseLife Geriatric Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which was a test site for the new module. "With so many users of abaqis around the country, including our area in Florida, we will eventually be able to benchmark our readmissions rate against other organizations and learn best practices to help reduce our readmissions further."

In addition to this new readmissions tool, Medline has undertaken several other initiatives to help nursing homes improve their quality of care and help reduce readmissions rates, including a new partnership with the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) to reduce the turnover rate and improve job satisfaction among certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Medline also offers hundreds of free education courses, including ones on how to reduce readmissions, through its online educational resource MedlineUniversity– www.medlineuniversity.com.

abaqis is sold and marketed exclusively through Medline and is a registered trademark of Providigm, LLC., who developed the quality assurance tool.

About Medline

The nation's leading provider of medical supplies to the long-term care industry and the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, Medline manufactures and distributes more than 125,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, physician offices and home care dealers. Medline is headquartered in Mundelein, Ill.and has more than 1,100 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services. For more information on Medline, visit www.medline.com.

John Marks (847) 643-3309                       Ann Fahey-Widman, (847) 643-3011
jmarks@medline.com afahey@medline.com

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