When the federal government began placing pressure on hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, there was significant pushback from those very same hospitals. They understood the challenges in reducing readmission rates and some of the factors that increase these rates are beyond their control.
However, there are numerous things hospitals across country have been doing in recent years to reduce these rates, but 93% of Connecticut hospitals will face some level of fines because they failed to do enough. In fact, out of 29 hospitals in Connecticut, 27 will see fines, or cuts, due to this failure.
There are numerous things hospitals can do to reduce readmission rates, and perhaps one of the most effective is to rely on home care services when a patient is discharged. By improving support and direct care for patients at home, it will translate to better post discharge care, follow-up, and monitoring.
Technology is also improving things for patients once they are discharged from the hospital, especially when a home health care nurse can check vitals and relay this information to the patient’s primary care physician directly.
While hospitals have complained about these readmissions and the fines, the ultimate goal is to improve post discharge care for patients from across a wide socioeconomic spectrum.
According to Healthcare Finance, in its October 10 blog, Most Connecticut hospitals will see financial penalties due to readmissions, written by Jess Lagasse:
“A small reimbursement hit can translate to significant financial losses. A 0.2 percent penalty, such as the one incurred by Ventura County Medical Center and the affiliated Santa Paula Hospital, can translate into tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
This challenging reimbursement picture has emerged despite changes in the way the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determines penalties. Rather than all U.S. hospitals being placed in the same pool — with hospital-to-hospital comparisons forming the basis of the reimbursement scenario — hospitals are now placed in peer groups based on their percentages of low-income patients.”
With home care services available in most regions across country, there really is no excuse for hospitals not to reach out, connect with them, and integrate these services into their patients post discharge care plan. Home care agencies and other providers would do well to reach out to these hospitals and other providers to connect and offer services that could help them reduce the risk of readmission fines in the future.
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