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PTs serve an important role in patient safety and patient care transitions.

Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days; that's approximately 2.6 million seniors at a cost of more than $26 billion every year.

Reducing avoidable readmissions is a high priority for the government in this era of health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program which begins in 2013, and is aimed at adjusting hospital payments for those institutions that have higher than expected readmissions. Hospital readmission quality metrics are being introduced into other settings, such as inpatient rehabilitation facilities in 2014, and are expected to be integrated in to additional settings in the near future.

Physical therapists should advocate and communicate their expertise and critical-decision making in providing recommendations for the most appropriate level of care postacute care discharge within the health care team prior to and during care transitions to help in reducing hospital readmissions.

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