New AMA Report Offers Principles for Patient Safety After Hospital Stays

Experts provide guidance on reducing hospital readmissions when transitioning patients from inpatient to outpatient settings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 February 6, 2013

WASHINGTON – A new report from the American Medical Association (AMA) outlines a list of five responsibilities physicians in outpatient settings should consider when caring for patients who have recently completed a hospital stay. The list was developed by a panel of experts convened to examine how to improve safety and reduce the rate of hospital readmissions for patients transitioning from an inpatient hospital stay back into their homes. It is part of the recommendations contained in “There And Home Again, Safely,” released today by the AMA’s Center for Patient Safety.

“When a patient leaves the hospital to go home, they are transitioning back into the care of their outpatient primary care and specialty physicians,” said AMA President Jeremy Lazarus, M.D. “These physicians play integral roles in helping patients fully recover, and coordination between inpatient and outpatient teams is key to ensuring success. Physicians in ambulatory care settings must first have access to information about their patients’ hospital stays to ensure continuous, high quality care. The lists of actions recommended in this report can then serve as a guide as physicians care for recovering patients.”

The responsibilities outpatient physicians should consider include: Assessment of the patient’s health; goal-setting to determine desired outcomes; supporting self-management to ensure access to resources the patient may need; medication management to oversee needed prescriptions; and care coordination to bring together all members of the health care team.

This report comes on the heels of an announcement from Medicare that it will accept the newly created Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for care coordination to pay physicians for the management of patients who have recently been discharged from a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The American Medical Association CPT Editorial Panel created the codes to capture transitional care management services, including time spent discussing a care plan, connecting patients to community services, transitioning them from inpatient settings and preventing readmissions.

The new report and more information about the AMA’s Patient Safety Center can be found at: www.ama-assn.org/go/ambulatorysafety

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Media Contact:

Heather Lasher Todd
AMA Media Relations
202-789-7421
Heather.Lasher.Todd@ama-assn.org 

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The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional, public health and health policy issues. The nation’s largest physician organization plays a leading role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit www.ama-assn.org.

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About the American Medical Association (AMA) Since 1847 the American Medical Association has had one mission: to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Today, the core strategy used to carry out this mission is our concerted effort to help doctors help patients. We do this by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. In 2011 our strategic plan focuses on five areas that encompass the central elements in health system reform: Access to care Quality of care Cost of health care Prevention and wellness Payment models Vist the AMA's 2011 strategic plan at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/strategic-issues.page These topics represent the major areas of emphasis in which the AMA carries out its mission in the current environment. Our proposed actions are not only directed at solving reform issues at the policy level, but also at helping physicians adapt to—and adopt—changes in a productive way. To learn more about how the AMA is moving medicine forward, read our flyer at: http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/about-ama/moving-medicine-forward.pdf.

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