Over the several years that the CMS and hospitals have been tussling over the reasons behind the steady rise in short-term observation stays, no one until now has suggested the increase represents a deliberate effort by hospitals to avoid Medicare's 30-day readmission penalties.
Just how much success have hospitals had in their efforts to prevent patients from returning soon after leaving? Perhaps not as much as reported, two physicians argue at the blog for health policy journal Health Affairs.
Four years into Medicare's drive to cut the number of patients who land back in the hospital within a few weeks of leaving, only a quarter of more than 3,400 hospitals avoided penalties, contributing to skepticism about the program and the array of metrics used to evaluate healthcare quality.
It doesn't matter how much healthcare providers and researchers rail about the inadequacy and inconsistency of the consumer ratings offered by the CMS, the Leapfrog Group, journalism outfits and online startups. They are not only here to stay, they are proliferating.
Most hospitals will get less money from Medicare in fiscal 2016 because too many patients return within 30 days of discharge. Less than 25% of hospitals subject to the program targeting readmissions did well enough to escape the penalty.
The CMS lowered its final increase for hospital rates in 2016 to a scant 0.9%, down from the 1.1% increase it proposed in April. The move will heighten pressure on the nation's 3,400 acute-care hospitals to rein in costs and reduce unnecessary spending.
Data Points for the week of July 27, 2015, covered the following topics: Patient safety, medical homes, health insurance exchanges, Medicaid, readmissions
Most senior citizens will fight fiercely to remain in their own homes, often well beyond their physical or even mental capacity to take care of themselves. A recent ACA-initiated demonstration program suggests there may be savings for Medicare if that's where seniors receive care.
The Obama administration took two major steps last week to improve the quality of long-term care.
Data Points for the week of July 13 2015, covered the following topics: Hospital readmissions, costs for low-risk births, Ebola, heroin use and Medicaid ER usage
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA's premium subsidies, most likely saving the law from major changes in the immediate future. But GOP critics still argue that the law is a failure. Here we examine how insurance coverage rates and readmission rates have changed since it took effect.
New data from Truven Health Analytics show that many top-performing hospitals are saving money for the Medicare program.