Beginning 10-1-12 hospitals will get lower reimbursements for readmitted Medicare patients.
Hospital in the district of Columbia and Northern Virginia will lose millions of dollars in Medicare money because too may of their patients are considered to have been readmitted within weeks of being discharged for reasons that could have been prevented. Nationally, nearly one in five Medicare patients returns to a hospital within a month of discharge, and three quarters ot those readmissions, which cost an estimated $12 billion a year, are considered preventable. The readmission penalty, authorized by the 2010 health-care law, is one of the first examples of the incentives Medicare, the single largest payer of hospital services, is using to try to lower costs and improve care.
I wonder if some readmissions could be prevented (at least from surgical complications) by going back to the old way of admitting the patient the day before a major elective surgery and getting them thoroughly examined. I know that costs more up front but i wonder if it would save money in the long run?