Hospital Readmission Penalties Started October 1

Under one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that was designed to both save money and improve care, on October 1, Medicare started fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications, infections, early discharge or other reasons that are deemed to have been preventable. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”) estimates that about two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be hit with penalties averaging around $125,000 per facility this coming year. Medicare plans to post details online later in October, and people can look up how their community hospitals performed by using the agency’s “Hospital Compare” website.

Hospitals who want to do the right thing have been working on how to reduce their readmissions for over a year. They are working on ways to improve communication with rehabilitation centers and doctors who follow patients after they’re released, as well as connecting individually with patients.

We would hope that hospitals would embrace Life Care Planning as a way to assure that the appropriate professionals are following their patients’ care and advocating on their behalf.

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