KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Are Some Factors Related To Readmissions Beyond Hospitals’ Control?

Reuters reports on a "fresh look at past research" that finds several non-medical variables may be central to how some patients do once they are discharged from the hospital.

Reuters: Are Social Factors Tied To Hospital Readmissions
There may be several non-medical factors outside of hospitals' control that are linked to how heart and pneumonia patients fare once they're discharged, according to a fresh look at past research. Beginning October 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started using readmission rates and patient outcomes as a way to determine how much money hospitals should get paid (Seaman, 10/19).

Meanwhile, news outlets take a look at how hospitals in certain states might fare once the readmission penalties kick in -

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Revised Medicare Penalties Hit Some States Hard
Medicare's readmissions penalties are falling hardest on hospitals in New Jersey, New York, Arkansas, Mississippi and the District of Columbia, a Kaiser Health News analysis of updated government data shows (Rau, 10/22).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  Too Many Readmissions To Cost Hospitals
Georgia hospitals face the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding for having too many Medicare patients come back through their doors just weeks – or sometimes days – after being sent home….Statewide, one-third of hospitals ended 2011 in the red, said Kevin Bloye, a spokesman for the Georgia Hospital Association. Starting this fiscal year, hospitals face up to a 1 percent penalty of their total Medicare funding if readmission rates are too high, followed by 2 percent in fiscal 2014 and 3 percent the year after that (Williams, 10/21).

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