Hospital Readmission Rates Reflect Problem In Addressing Hospital Failures
News outlets continue their coverage of a report by the Dartmouth Atlas Project.
The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog: How One Hospital Reduced Its Readmission Rate
If you're a Medicare patient admitted to the hospital, the odds are about one in six that you’ll end up back in the hospital within a month. And there was very little progress made in reducing that rate between 2004-09. That's the not-so-good news from a new report by the folks at the Dartmouth Atlas Project, which tracks variations in medical care across the U.S. The report also found that more than half of Medicare patients who left the hospital didn't see a primary-care doctor within two weeks of discharge — identified as a contributing factor to the revolving-door problem (Hobson, 9/28).
The Hill: Report: Hospitals Across The Country Failing Patients After Discharge
Hospitals across the country are doing a dismal job making sure their patients stay healthy after they have been discharged, according to a new report released Wednesday. Readmission rates have actually increased nationally for some conditions over the past five years, according to the Dartmouth Atlas Project, which tracks regional variations in care. The new data come as hospitals with high readmission rates will start seeing Medicare reimbursement cuts under the health care reform law, starting in October 2012. "The report highlights widespread and systematic failures in coordinating care for patients after they leave the hospital," lead author David Goodman said in a statement accompanying the report. "Irrespective of the cause, unnecessary hospital readmissions lead to more tests and treatments, more time away from home and family, and higher health care costs" (Pecquet, 9/28).
In other hospital news —
The Associated Press: Dementia Patients Suffer Dubious Hospitalizations
One-fifth of Medicare nursing-home patients with advanced Alzheimer's or other dementias were sent to hospitals or other nursing homes for questionable reasons in their final months, often enduring tube feeding and intensive care that prolonged their demise, a new study found. Nursing homes may feel hospital care is warranted when a frail, elderly patient develops swallowing problems, pneumonia or a serious infection, but researchers suspect a different motive for many transfers: money. After a patient is hospitalized for at least three days, Medicare pays about three times the normal daily rate for nursing homes to take patients back — three times the rate paid by Medicaid, which funds such long-term care for many (Marchione, 9/28).