Chapter 114

2011 -- H 6213

Enacted 06/28/11





     Introduced By: Representative Joseph M. McNamara

     Date Introduced: June 01, 2011


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 23 of the General Laws entitled "HEALTH AND SAFETY" is hereby

amended by adding thereto the following chapter:





     23-17.26-1. Findings. The general assembly hereby finds and declares that:

     (1) According to data provided by the department of health; in 2009, over 1 in five (5)

adults discharged from acute care hospitals in Rhode Island were readmitted within thirty (30)


     (2) During that same period, the readmission rate for adults over the age of sixty-five (65)

rose to almost thirty percent (30%);

     (3) The issue of hospital readmissions has emerged nationally as a critical focal point for

improving quality, ensuring patient safety, and controlling excessive costs;

     (4) Locally, high hospital readmission rates are often due to: missing or incorrect

information regarding patients; ill-timed information transfer; medication errors or poor

compliance; lack of outpatient follow-up; or lack of follow-up by patients when their symptoms


     (5) Evidence-based interventions can improve communications systems and patient

activation, thus addressing the root causes of hospital readmissions and reducing rates;

     (6) Encouraging best practices in patient discharge and transitions out of hospitals offers

significant potential for improving patient care and containing healthcare costs in Rhode Island;


     (7) The State of Rhode Island, with the cooperation of the state’s hospitals, has already

made significant gains in fostering care coordination and improving quality of care.


     23-17.26-2. Definitions. As used in this chapter:

     (1) “Director” means the director of department of health.

     (2) “Department” means the department of health.

     (3) “Hospital” means a person or governmental entity licensed in accordance with chapter

17 of this title to establish, maintain and operate a hospital.


     23-17.26-3. Comprehensive discharge planning. (a) On or before July 1, 2015, each

hospital operating in the State of Rhode Island shall submit to the director:

     (1) Evidence of participation in a high-quality comprehensive discharge planning and

transitions improvement project operated by a nonprofit organization in this state; or

     (2) A plan for the provision of comprehensive discharge planning and information to be

shared with patients transitioning from the hospitals care. Such plan shall contain the adoption of

evidence-based practices including, but not limited to:

     (i) Providing in-hospital education prior to discharge; 

     (ii) Ensuring patient involvement such that, at discharge, patients, and caregivers

understand the patient’s conditions and medications and have a point of contact for follow-up


     (iii) Attempting to identify patients’ primary care providers and assisting with scheduling

post-hospital follow-up appointments prior to patient discharge;

     (iv) Expanding the transmission of the department of health’s continuity of care form, or

successor program, to include primary care providers’ receipt of information at patient discharge

when the primary care provider is identified by the patient; and

     (v) Coordinating and improving communication with outpatient providers.


     23-17.26-4. Severability. If any provision of this chapter, or the application thereof to

any person or circumstances shall be held invalid, any invalidity shall not affect the provisions or

application of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application,

and to this end the provisions of the chapter are declared to be severable.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.