Malnutrition is a serious issue, with 1 in 3 U.S. hospital patients being affected. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have projected reduced reimbursement for malnutrition readmissions within 30 days of discharge. At Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC), 42% of patients identified at risk for malnutrition were being readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
An evidence-based intervention study was implemented to identify strategies to minimize the number of patients readmitted due to malnutrition. Malnutrition education was implemented, including development of a “Malnutrition Guide” which was reviewed with all inpatient staff and providers. A “Malnutrition Protocol” was established for early identification, diagnosis, treatment and discharge planning to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions.
The Malnutrition Protocol for discharge management and the prevention of readmissions resulted in a reduction of length of stay for this population and a reduction of readmission days. In a 12-month study, cost savings of $76,417 for a 101.89 reduction in hospital days and prevention of 23 patient readmissions was realized. The malnutrition readmission rate was reduced from 42% to 9.89%.
ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA HEALTHCARE-FLAGSTAFF MEDICAL CENTER
Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC), a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, is a full-service, 267-bed, Level 1 Trauma Center facility. FMC has approximately 2,000 employees and more than 200 physicians on its active medical staff. FMC’s mission is to improve the health of the people and communities it serves.