AURORA, Colo. – Eric Coleman, MD, a geriatrician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine
whose work focuses on helping patients transition from hospital to home, has won a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” says Coleman, a CU professor who practices at University of Colorado Hospital
. He added that he’s not yet sure what to do with the unrestricted, five-year grant.
Coleman’s work focuses on an area of healthcare that has been embraced nationally as part of health care reform – reducing the number of patients released from a hospital only to be readmitted.
About one in five Medicare patients returns to the hospital within 30 days. Those readmissions are costly and, for the most part, preventable. Medicare began a system of penalties for high patient readmission rates on Tuesday, when the MacArthur awards coincidentally were announced.
Through studies piloted in Denver, then exported to other cities, Coleman
showed that coaching patients in the transition out of a hospital, and following up with them, helped keep them from having to return quickly. His approach, using practical information such as lists of medical warning signs and follow-up appointments, is called Care Transitions Intervention
The head of the medical school’s Division of Health Care Policy and Research in the
Department of Medicine,Coleman received his medical degree from the
University of California, San Francisco.