WellSpan Home

Previous Page

Ephrata Community Hospital readmission rates lower than the national average

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Patient education cited as a key factor

Ephrata Community HospitalEphrata Community Hospital (ECH) is one of 46 hospitals in Pennsylvania that was not penalized in fiscal year 2014 as part of a Medicare program to reduce the number of patients readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) penalized 71 percent of Pennsylvania hospitals an average of less than 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursement for having elevated readmission rates this year.

The penalties are based on readmissions of Medicare patients, who were originally admitted with at least one of three conditions—heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.

The penalty program is among the toughest of the federal government's efforts to pay hospitals for the quality of their performance rather than the number of patients they treat.

Susan Shollenberger, assistant vice president, quality and compliance, Ephrata Community Hospital, said: “We are pleased with our success in lowering readmission rates. It’s reflective of a lot of hard work and persistence.”

Shollenberger cited patient education as a key factor.

“It’s important to start patient education as close to admission as possible,” she stressed. “You can’t save the bulk of it for the last day.”

She added that it’s helpful to have a patient’s caregiver present for the education, if possible. Patients need to understand their medications and transition instructions when they leave the hospital.

“We also follow up with patients to make sure they have a visit scheduled with their primary care physician within five to seven days of leaving the hospital,” said Shollenberger.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MPAC), which reports to Congress, has estimated that 12 percent of Medicare patients may be readmitted for potentially avoidable reasons. Averting one out of every 10 of those readmissions could save Medicare $1 billion, according to MPAC.

Medicare will launch the third phase of the program on Oct. 1, 2014, when it will raise the maximum penalty to 3 percent, and expand the number of conditions for which readmissions are penalized to include chronic lung disease and elective hip and knee replacements.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.