A computer programming error led the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to miscalculate financial penalties against hospitals that have high rates of patients returning within 30 days. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, established by the 2010 health care law, kicked in Monday, with 307 hospitals losing 1 percent of their regular reimbursements.
The first year of experience with Medicare’s readmission program is in and Kaiser has done an initial analysis of the results. A large number of hospitals will be penalized, mostly those who can least afford it, and the program continues to show how poorly designed it is and what severe unintended consequences will ensue from its implementation.
Summer is heating up and our Potpourri is smoking too, with nuggets on a silly provision in the final MLR rule; research on causes of readmissions, some within hospital control, some not; why are some hospitals more costly in treating heart failure than others and an unintended consequence of a change in dialysis drug reimbursement.
With the advent of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services hospital readmission penalty program, hospitals are scrambling to try to identify potential readmissions and manage them. A new Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality report gives some basic data on hospital readmissions for chronic and acute conditions.
Researchers have published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which examines hospital readmission rates for heart attack patients in multiple countries. The United States has higher absolute rates of readmissions, but the lowest lengths of stay and the two circumstances appear to be linked.
Welcome to 2012, when you can once again expect a series of high-quality Potpourris from our immense data bank! Our initial foray includes the Independence at Home CMS demo, discharge summaries and hospital readmissions, CMS’ quality measures for Medicaid patients, private equity fundraising, medical homes and cost savings for Medicaid patients and the effect of poor discharge summaries on nursing home patients.
Another scintillating Potpourri, focused on the effect of copayments on prescription adherence, use of PHRs in the FEHBP plans, doctors use of cancer drugs after a Medicare reimbursement change, visiting physicians after a hospital discharge, consumers expectations regarding health insurance and early experience with bundled payments.
The American Hospital Association weighs in on the hospital readmission reduction incentive program with a well-thought out program that identifies the complexities involved in identifying inappropriate readmissions and designing initiatives to reduce those readmissions.
Another wonderful collection of health care research summaries, including a GAO report on likely effects of the MLR rule, physician work intensity, reducing hospital-acquired infections, discharge followup and hospital readmissions, the effect of pay-for-performance on cardiac care and use of EHRs and health history recording.