A recent data made public by the the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that manages the Medicare health insurance program for seniors, proposes that efforts to lessen expensive patient read missions at America’s hospitals have till now been unsuccessful. This may prove to be a bad omen for hospitals. Commencing in October, Medicare Plans will start disciplining hospitals whose readmission rates are higher than projected, as part of a new “value-based” purchasing programaimed at rewarding the quality and not just the quantity of care.
Medicare Supplement Plan computes readmission rates averaged over three-year periods. The most current reporting period runs from July 2008 through June 2011, and illustrates that 19.7 percent of heart attack patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge, a drop of just 0.1 percentage point from the previous year’s three-year figure.
The data revealed heart failure 30-day readmissions for Medicare patients and Medicare pneumonia readmissions to be steady. Payers including Medicare and private health insurers are making an effort to get down readmissions as they can be expensive, costing Medicare$18 billion a year, and may be pinpointing to medical errors or preventable complications.
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