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Study Raises Questions About Progress Toward Reducing Readmissions

A new study suggests that the reduction in hospital readmissions of recent years may not be as meaningful a reflection of improved quality of care as some observers believe. According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, at the same time that hospitals have reduced their readmissions of Medicare patients in response to penalties imposed through Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program, the rate of readmission of patients who are hospitalized for observation stays after visiting the emergency room has increased 35 percent.  This increase in readmissions for observation stay patients comes at a time, moreover, [&hellip

Time to Raise the Bar on Preventable Hospital Readmissions?

A new report suggests that hospitals can have the greatest impact on reducing preventable readmissions within seven days of discharge and not through the 30-day mark at which they are currently judged by Medicare. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Early readmissions were more likely to be preventable and amenable to hospital-based interventions.  Late readmissions were less likely to be preventable and were more amenable to ambulatory and home-based interventions. The study, conducted at 10 academic medical centers and involving more than 800 of their patients who had been readmitted to the hospital, concludes that [&hellip

CMS Proposes Regulatory Changes in Medicare Quality Programs

Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a proposal detailing how it envisions paying for Medicare services in FY 2019 under its inpatient prospective payment system. On Tuesday this space features a summary of the proposed changes in inpatient rates, Medicare disproportionate share payments (Medicare DSH) and how they would be calculated, and proposed changes in the Medicare area wage index system.  Yesterday we looked at proposed changes in regulations governing multi-campus hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive programs, and the hospital readmissions reduction program. Today we describe proposed changes in various Medicare quality efforts. [&hellip

CMS Proposes Changes in Inpatient Rates, Medicare DSH, and Wage Index

Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a proposal detailing how it envisions paying for Medicare services in FY 2019 under its inpatient prospective payment system. Yesterday this space features a summary of the proposed regulation, with an emphasis on aspects of the rule of greatest importance to urban safety-net hospitals. Today, we address Medicare inpatient rates, Medicare disproportionate share payments (Medicare DSH) and the Medicare cost report’s S-10 worksheet, and the Medicare area wage index. Inpatient Rates CMS proposes increasing Medicare inpatient rates 1.75 percent in FY 2019.  This reflects the projected hospital market basket update [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met last week in Washington, D.C. to address a number of Medicare reimbursement-related issues. Among the subjects on MedPAC’s agenda were: using payments to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services uniform outcome measures for post-acute care applying MedPAC’s principles for measuring quality: hospital quality incentives Medicare coverage policy and use of low-value care long-term issues confronting Medicare accountable care organizations managed care plans for dual-eligible beneficiaries While MedPAC’s policy and payment recommendations are not binding on Congress or the administration, its views are respected and influential and often become the [&hellip

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