July 12, 2016
Majority of Hospitals Fail a Medicare Test
The federal agency that administers Medicare will be reducing its reimbursement payments to 2,225 U.S. hospital this fiscal year, as a result of their insufficient progress on reducing readmission rates for the patients they treat.
According to an analysis by Kaiser Health News of data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the payment reductions aren’t significant — the average penalty is 0.38 percent, and the penalties amassing $227 million.
However, close to two-thirds of the hospitals that are subject to readmission guidelines are affected, indicating how difficult it can be to improve treatment outcomes for patients that are seriously ill.
There are some health care reformers that have strongly contended that readmission rates are a meaningful measure of both the quality and cost of hospital care. Often times readmission can be a sign that a patient didn’t adhere to his or her prescribed medications or rehabilitation instructions following their discharge. Reformers argue that the responsibility for this type of breakdown falls on the shoulders of the hospital and its staff.
Medicare’s Payment Advisory Commission estimate that roughly one and eight readmissions can be avoided, and that every 10 percent reduction in such readmissions would reduce Medicare’s annual costs by $1 billion.