One of the best ways for communities to reduce healthcare costs quickly and improve patient care in the process is to implement initiatives to reduce hospital readmissions. Research studies and quality-reporting initiatives around the country show that 15-25% of people who are discharged from the hospital will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days or less, and that many of these readmissions are preventable. The patients certainly would not mind having fewer hospitalizations, and billions of dollars in spending on hospital stays could be saved if these hospitalizations could be avoided. In other words, reducing readmissions is a win-win for both cost and quality, without a hint of rationing. Moroever, savings can be achieved rapidly, since the principal focus is on a short-term outcome: readmissions within 30 days.
One of the biggest opportunities for reducing healthcare costs is improving the quality of maternity care. For most businesses, childbirth and newborn care is the largest or second largest (after heart care) category of hospital expenditures, and it's by far the largest category of hospital expenditures for state Medicaid programs, so even small improvements can result in large savings.