Pairing community health workers with adult inpatients under accountable care organization insurance coverage reduced readmissions and missed appointments with outpatient providers during the first 30 days of discharge, according to a recently published Massachusetts General Hospital study.
While these trends were greater among patients who were discharged to short-term rehabilitation, a subgroup analysis found that the difference in readmission was no longer significant among those who were directly discharged to their homes.
Still, the data lend support to policies supporting insurance-based reimbursement for and investment in community health worker services targeting high-risk patients, the researchers wrote.
“While inpatients discharged to rehabilitation prior to transitioning home have been identified as high-risk for 30-day readmission, little research has been done to determine effective interventions to reduce readmissions,” they wrote in JAMA Network Open. “Results from our post hoc analyses demonstrated that [community health workers] are a promising intervention for this population, but future studies are needed to confirm these findings.”