Does Your Hospital Have Too Many Readmissions?

Hospital Readmission Rates

Previously we wrote about hospitals aiming to reduce the number of readmissions for Medicare beneficiaries. As we reported, 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.

Medicare has started penalizing hospitals that have high readmission rates, especially for patients who are being treated for heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that new categories of health conditions will be added in the future. Along with this, as a part of the Affordable Care Act, CMS has named thousands of hospitals that are set to lose a portion of their Medicare reimbursements because of high readmission rates.

If you’re looking to find out how your hospital stacks up to others, you can use the following readmission chart (PDF) developed by Kaiser Health News. The chart includes penalties for 2013 and 2014, along with the percentage that has changed.

For fiscal year 2014, Medicare has distributed $227 million in penalties to 2,255 hospitals on the Kaiser list. The worst offenders will see their payments get cut 2%; the average fine was 0.38% (down from last year’s 0.42%). On the positive side, about one-third of the hospitals (1,154, to be exact) managed to keep their readmissions rate low enough to avoid any fines.

“Many of the hospitals we work with are scrambling to put measures in place to reduce their rate of readmissions, to the extent they can,” Chas Roades, Chief Research Officer of The Advisory Board Company (a consulting group based in Washington), told Kaiser Health News. He continued, “The financial penalties aren’t huge right now, but hospital leaders recognize that the penalties will get bigger, and that scrutiny over readmissions rates will continue to grow.”

AARP also reported on this story.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Medicare hasn’t approved or endorsed this information.


About Anita Loomba

Anita Loomba is a contributor of the eHealth Medicare Blog.
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