RHA Receives $50,000 Grant to Improve COPD Discharge Practices

Approximately 1 in 5 patients hospitalized for COPD exacerbations in the United States are readmitted within 30 days. In 2015, sixty three percent of Illinois hospitals (and sixty nine percent of Chicago hospitals) reported excess readmissions for COPD. Among the factors contributing to high readmission rates within the COPD patient community are poor clinician-patient communications and lack of patient compliance with discharge instructions.

The Federal Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was established under section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act with the goal of improving healthcare for Americans by linking Medicare payments to the quality of hospital care.

Under the program, hospitals are financially penalized if they have higher-than-expected 30-day readmission rates. These financial penalties are in the form of reduced payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

HRRP gives hospitals a strong financial incentive to improve care coordination and post-discharge planning.

Nurse showing clipboard to patient in hospital ward

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) believes an enhanced hospital patient discharge tool for COPD will reduce COPD readmission rates by strengthening communications between clinicians and patients, improving provider adherence to COPD clinical guidelines and improving patient compliance.

To help RHA address this issue, Boehringer Ingelheim is providing a $50,000 planning grant to devise a COPD discharge tool.

This multi-phase project will draw upon the expertise of public health, clinical and design professionals, and the experiences of the COPD patient and caregiver community.

RHA will work with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Population Health Sciences Division’s Program for Heath Care Delivery Design. The UIC design team will create printed materials to educate discharged COPD patients on what they need to know post-hospitalization.

The project aims to improve quality of life among patients with COPD and reduce COPD-related hospital readmissions and associated healthcare costs.

RHA’s work with COPD

RHA works with over 80 Illinois pulmonary rehabilitation groups and more than 10,000 COPD patients as part of our COPD Initiative, which began in 2004 and continues today.

These experiences and patient interactions honed our understanding of the importance of improved communications between healthcare providers and COPD patients.

In 2017, RHA developed the COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit, a comprehensive resource designed based on caregiver, patient and health care provider input. The Toolkit is designed to empower caregivers with information and ways to support themselves through the caregiving experience, as well as information to support the care of the person living with COPD, has a positive impact on both caregivers and patients.