Are hospital readmission penalties a good idea?

According to a report in StatNews, the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program has achieved its primary goal: It has reduced readmissions. A wide body of evidence shows that readmissions began to fall in 2012, when financial penalties took full effect. They have since declined several percentage points in each of the three conditions originally included in the program, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Medicare data.

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Over half of nation's hospitals have Medicare readmission penalty

According to Kaiser Health News, the majority of the nation’s hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for having patients frequently return within a month of discharge — this time losing a combined $420 million, government records show.  The Kaiser story also includes links to data files.

In the fourth year of federal readmission penalties, 2,592 hospitals will receive lower payments for every Medicare patient that stays in the hospital — readmitted or not — starting in October. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, created by the Affordable Care Act, was designed to make hospitals pay closer attention to what happens to their patients after they get discharged.
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Perfect performance on heart failure measures does not lower mortality rate

Performing perfectly on four core heart failure care measures monitored and publicly reported by the Joint Commission and recommended by the American Heart Association results in reduced readmission rates, but does not impact mortality rates for heart failure, according to MedPage Today.
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Medicare begins to penalize hospitals for readmissions beginning in October

Over 2000 hospitals across the country stand to lose approximately $280 million in Medicare reimbursement dollars beginning in October 2012, as Medicare begins to penalize hospitals for readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.
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Patient ratings on website found to correlate with quality of care

A study by the British National Health Service (NHS) has found a correlation between positive patient ratings of their healthcare experience and higher quality care, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to grant $218 million to improve patient safety

The Department of Health and Human Services will award $218 million to 26 hospitals and hospital associations to target initiatives aimed at reducing preventable injuries and complications from hospital-acquired conditions, according to Health Leaders Media.
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