Patient readmission back into the hospital within a month of discharge has been a common occurrence and has driven up the cost of care for insurers and patients alike for many years.
Medicare has taken noticed of the practice and, for the second year, has penalized hospitals with excessive patience remittance of 30 days or less. This has been Medicare’s strongest effort to reduce the costly readmission rates.
About two-thirds of the hospitals penalized were eligible for Medicare payments. These hospitals were fined in the form of lower readmission payments. This translates to hospitals losing $227 million to the Medicare program that began in October, according to Kaiser Health News.
To lower cost, Medicare has also undertaken a two-pronged approach, focusing on both the research and payment side. Under the Independence at Home Demonstration, which is made up of 15 independent practices and 3 consortia, Medicare has designed this program to identify new processes and policies with hospitals to reduce the monthly readmission rates. While on the payment side, they are aggressively cutting the reimbursement payments to the penalized hospitals.
The numbers in hospital penalties averaged so slightly between both years. In round one 1,371 fines were given. In round two, 1,074 repeat penalties were re-issued and 283 new penalties that had gone unnoticed last year were added to the roster this year.
Furthermore, hospitals that were less likely to be fined were those treating the fewest numbers of impoverished or lower income patience.
Please give us your feedback!
Do you think Medicare’s penalizing hospitals for readmission rates will help bring down the cost in the long run? Should all healthcare providers, who are not participating, follow suit?
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