To the Journal editor:
This letter is in response to an front page article which appeared in The Mining Journal on Aug. 27 that reported Portage Health was one of several hospitals in Michigan, and the only one in the Upper Peninsula, as having been "fined" due to excessive readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients.
Although I applaud the author's efforts, I hope you will allow me to clarify the facts which are important to truly understand what is a much more complex program and topic.
First, only five of the 15 Upper Peninsula-based hospitals were included in a readmission reduction program due to their classification as a non-critical access hospital (s).
It is important to note that the readmission rates for Critical Access Hospitals are not available to the public and it is unknown how these critical access hospitals compare.
Second, Portage Health was not fined but rather will receive a small reduction in reimbursement of approximately $10,000 spread over the next year. Portage Health's change in reimbursement is nominal and is actually reflective of the positive changes we have made in our readmission rates during this study.
Third, in 2009 Portage Health was invited to be part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement STAAR Initiative, a collaborative effort between the states of Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts to reduce avoidable readmissions. Our success in this collaborative resulted in an invitation to participate in an additional study.
In 2012, Portage Health was one of only five hospitals across the country invited to participate in a more comprehensive effort led by the IHI to engage the five selected hospitals to test and improve interventions that will result in lowered readmission rates; improved quality and patient satisfaction; and ultimately better medical outcomes.
These five hospitals, including Portage Health, were selected based on their historical commitment and demonstrated success in implementing and sustaining clinical improvements for the patients they serve.
Portage Health's readmission rates continue to remain well below the state and national averages as evidenced in a recent report published by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.
Furthermore, our patient surveys, Press Ganey reports and HCAPHS results illustrate some of the highest patient satisfaction and quality indicators of any healthcare organization within the region.
Jim Bogan, president, CEO