The business case for hospital-based Behavioral Screening and Intervention

Richard L Brown


Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are challenged to avoid growing penalties for adverse outcomes, including readmissions, and to adapt to value-based purchasing, where parent organizations will ultimately regard hospital revenues as costs. Hospitals are responding by implementing quality improvement programs, strengthening coordination of care around and after discharge, and enhancing chronic disease management, but many hospitals continue to suffer penalties. An additional response could be to systematically conduct screening and intervention for “upstream” behavioral risks and disorders – smoking, unhealthy drinking and depression – which are associated with admissions, inferior medical and surgical outcomes, readmissions, and ample costs. By increasing smoking quit rates, reducing binge drinking and enhancing depression outcomes, Behavioral Screening and Intervention (BSI) could improve outcomes for various chronic diseases, prevent acute disease and injury, decrease hospital admissions and readmissions, avert surgical complications, and improve hospitals’ bottom lines. This article discusses how hospitals could implement BSI and potential benefits, barriers and limitations.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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