KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Medicare Practices On Quality, Patient Stays Questioned

A new study examines how Medicare categorizes hospital errors, and the controversy over "observation care" continues.

Reuters: Medicare Patients, Be Aware Of 'Observation' Status In Hospitals
People on Medicare who spend one or two nights in the hospital are finding out, and often too late, that they weren’t really “admitted” to the hospital. ... Even though they were in a bed in a hospital room, the hospital may have categorized them as being there for “observation,” rather than being formally “admitted.” But patients being “observed” might face some unpleasant surprises when they leave the hospital. For example, Medicare might not pay the tab for a rehab facility or a nursing home (Kanne, 6/11).

Related, earlier KHN story: FAQ: Hospital Observation Care Can Be Poorly Understood And Costly For Medicare Beneficiaries (Jaffe, 9/4/13)

Kaiser Health News: Not So Fast; Some Costly Hospital Complications Not Tracked by Medicare, Analysis Finds
An analysis released Thursday identified dozens of potentially avoidable hospital complications that are not being tracked by the government even though some occur frequently and are expensive to treat. Premier, Inc., a consulting company that works with hospitals on improving quality, analyzed 5.5 million patient records to identify 86 common ‘complications’ that occurred in the hospital and were associated with patient deaths, higher costs or longer lengths of stays (Rau, 6/12).

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