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When I taught graduate public health students about health policy and politics, one of the lessons was about what happens AFTER a bill becomes a law. Since laws cannot possibly spell out every nuance of implementation, the government agencies and other organizations that put laws into place can shape the final results, especially with complicated public health and healthcare rules, regulations and programs.

An article in today’s Washington Post also shows the benefits of paying attention after “the main event.”

The article features to avoidable costs (financial and related to patients’ health) incurred when discharged patients are readmitted. The article talks about how Mr. Cox, a bypass surgery patient, benefitted from a program called Project BOOST (a collaboration between hospitals/foundations/nonprofits). The BOOST program contacted him after he left the hospital and reminded him to take his medicines. This may have avoided one cause of readmissions, not taking medications as instructed.

The article also showcases great examples of the variety of public health experts needed to address health care costs, i.e., public health in action (PHiA).  The sources include a health services research study from the New England Journal of Medicine, the medical officer from a hospital, an official from the Department of Health and Human Services, a vice president from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Mr. Cox. Teamwork and collaborations at their best!