OGDEN -- Medicare patients at Ogden Regional Medical Center and McKay-Dee Hospital are among the least likely in the country to be readmitted within a month of leaving the hospital following treatment.
A recent study by the Dartmouth Atlas Project shows 11.5 percent of patients treated at the two Ogden hospitals were readmitted 30 days after discharge.
The national average was 16.1 percent between 2004 and 2009.
Provo hospitals had a rate of 13 percent, while Salt Lake City's readmission rate was 13.6 percent.
Researchers examined 10.7 million hospital discharges for Medicare patients across the country and found a striking variation in the 30-day readmission rate.
In addition, more than half of Medicare patients discharged do not follow up with a primary care physician within two weeks of leaving the hospital.
Mark Adams, CEO of Ogden Regional Medical Center, said the hospital has instituted initiatives officials believe contribute to the decreased readmission rate.
"We have improved our discharge process, which includes better education to both the patient and the caregiver when appropriate," he said.
"Increased communication at the time of discharge helps patients understand what actions they need to undertake in order to get well and avoid ending up back in the hospital."
Adams said the hospital also has a service, MD Navigate, that helps patients through the sometimes cumbersome and confusing process of making follow-up appointments.
National studies estimate that 80 percent of patients actually follow through with their physician's recommended care after an appointment or hospitalization, Adams said. MD Navigate has a 96 percent appointment rate regarding the patients it assists.
Chris Dallin, public relations director for McKay-Dee Hospital, said the hospital has worked hard to ensure readmission rates are low by incorporating practices that increase quality and decrease costs.
Hospital staff members also sit down with patients -- before they are discharged -- to educate them about their illness, medication and the importance of follow-up care, Dallin said.
"We also make sure the family knows what the plan is concerning their loved one, and we make follow-up phone calls to check on the patient after they are discharged."
Dallin said McKay-Dee Hospital helps patients with referrals and reminders to see their physician after spending time in the hospital.
"We know that readmission rates just increase costs, so we are continually striving to decrease readmission rates," he said.
"We are thrilled with the report, but we will continue to strive to be even better."