Noteworthy News

Readmissions Penalties Not the Answer, Some Hospitals Maintain

Penalizing hospitals that readmit Medicare patients may not be the best way to improve the quality of care, many hospital officials believe.

And such penalties also may unfairly target safety-net hospitals and those that care for especially large numbers of low-income and especially sick patients.

Hospitals have responded to the challenge posed by potential Medicare penalties by becoming more involved in their patients’ post-discharge lives – an involvement that some believe falls outside their areas of expertise and responsibility.  Still, with the Medicare penalties for readmissions scheduled to rise in the coming years, many hospitals believe they have no choice but to invest in the resources needed to prevent readmissions among their patients.

The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has long maintained that the penalties levied under Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program unfairly target urban safety-net hospitals, which care for disproportionately large numbers of low-income patients whose post-discharge needs are especially complicated by their lack of resources and available community supports.

Read more about this issue, the challenges hospitals face, and the objections some express in this New York Times articleiStock_000015640638XSmall.

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