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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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Cox Medical Center Branson Uses T-System's Care Continuity to Reduce Readmissions
Patient Transition Management Solution Will Help Hospital Reach Goal of Lowering Readmissions by 20 Percent to Improve Patient Care

DALLAS, TX -- (Marketwire) -- 02/05/13 -- Cox Medical Center Branson completed activation of T-System's PerformNext™ Care Continuity web-based solution in its hospital and provider clinics to facilitate patient transitions and improve communication and access to clinical data. The facility has set a goal to reduce avoidable readmissions by 20 percent with the primary intention to improve their patients' safety, satisfaction, experience and outcomes.

The 165 licensed bed hospital in Southwest Missouri services a three-county area with a high rate of Medicaid and self-pay patients. As explained in a recent article, research consistently shows that Medicaid patients tend to be significantly sicker than privately insured patients, potentially leading to a higher readmission rate if the continuation of critical follow-up care ceases to happen.

The patient transition management tool connects Cox Medical Center Branson to area provider clinics and actively manages the patient transition workflow and communication processes. It helps ensure discharged patients including those deemed high risk with serious medical conditions receive appropriate aftercare.

"Our goal is to use T-System's Care Continuity to lower patient readmissions and to reduce the use of our ED as a primary care provider by rerouting them to our clinics," said Michael Elley, chief information officer and vice president of Support Services, Cox Medical Center Branson. "It's cost effective for us to coordinate their treatment in a clinic setting, and it's better for the patients themselves to receive follow-up care sooner than later and before their illness worsens to the point of having to return to the ED."

Like all U.S. hospitals and health systems, Cox Medical Center Branson faces a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement if it exceeds the 30-day readmission levels set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS plans to increase those penalties by 1 percent in October and another 1 percent in October 2014 plus raise the number of covered conditions to eight.

A study released in the Jan. 23rd issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted the importance of care coordination in reducing costly readmission rates. Researchers found communities that leveraged community-based transitioned care markedly reduced hospitalizations and rehospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries than in comparison communities.

While Cox Medical Center Branson's 2012 annual average readmission rate was 9.65 percent, the state average for Missouri is currently 11.5 percent. T-System's patient transition management system automatically flags patients at high risk for readmission to ensure follow-up care is scheduled. Participating practices receive alerts for patient status changes or when follow-up care is required. Patients without a medical home are easily matched to appropriate providers in a fully closed-loop process.

Cox Medical Center Branson introduced T-System's Care Continuity to 19 of their specialty and primary care physician clinics. In the coming weeks, the hospital plans to extend the solution to nearby independent groups to improve physician alignment and enhance patient care community-wide.

"We commend Cox Medical Center Branson for being among the first hospitals in the country to tackle this issue," said Sunny Sanyal, T-System chief executive officer. "Not only can they avoid CMS penalties and reduce the cost of care, they can improve access to healthcare and create better patient outcomes for the entire Branson community."

About Cox Medical Center Branson
Cox Medical Center Branson, formerly Skaggs Regional Medical Center following the completion of a merger with Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth in early January 2013, is a 165 licensed bed healthcare facility dedicated to improving the health of all area residents. Cox Medical Center Branson holds the highest national accreditation available for medical facilities from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. It has also earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for its advanced inpatient diabetes care and is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center through the Joint Commission on Accreditation. For more information, visit www.coxhealth.com.

About T-System
T-System, Inc. advances the practice of emergency medicine with solutions proven to solve clinical, financial, operational and regulatory challenges for hospitals and urgent care clinics. Approximately 40 percent of the nation's emergency departments leverage T-System solutions to provide an unmatched patient experience. Through gold-standard documentation, revenue cycle management, and performance-enhancing solutions, T-System optimizes care delivery from the front door through discharge and beyond. Today, more than 1,900 facilities rely on T-System solutions. For more information, visit www.tsystem.com. Follow @TSystem on Twitter, or become a T-System fan on Facebook.

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CONTACT:
Corinne Tso
Vice President of Marketing
T-System, Inc.
469.791.5540
Email Contact

Angela Jenkins
Amendola Communications
for T-System, Inc.
720-859-6930
Email Contact

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