(HealthDay News) — For surgical patients at high risk of readmission, especially those with surgical complications, early primary care provider (PCP) follow-up reduces the rate of readmission, according to a study published online June 25 in JAMA Surgery.

Benjamin S. Brooke, MD, PhD, from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and colleagues examined whether PCP follow-up is associated with lower 30-day readmission rates after procedures known to have high and low risk of readmission (open thoracic aortic aneurysm [TAA] repair and ventral hernia repair [VHR], respectively). Readmission rates were compared for patients seen and not seen by a PCP within 30 days of discharge in a cohort of 12,679 and 52,807 Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged home after open TAA repair and VHR, respectively, between 2003–2010.

The researchers found that the risk of readmission was significantly reduced with early PCP follow-up among open TAA repair patients (35.0% without follow-up vs. 20.4% with follow-up; P<0.001). For patients whose hospital course was uncomplicated, PCP follow-up had no significant impact on readmission (19.4% with follow-up vs. 21.9% without follow-up; P=0.31). Regardless of complications, early PCP follow-up had no impact of the risk of readmission after VHR.

“Identifying high-risk surgical patients who will benefit from PCP integration during care transitions may offer a low-cost solution toward limiting readmissions,” the authors write.

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