Lot's of news and analysis this week about Medicare reimbursement penalties for patient readmissions and the implications for SNFs and hospitals.
- Starting Oct. 1, about 2,000 hospitals will face tiered reimbursement penalties for readmitting too many patients with heart attacks, pneumonia and chronic heart failure. As a reminder of the challenge, we see that the best hospitals readmit 19 percent to 20 percent of heart failure patients within 30 days. As the McKnight's article observes, strong collaborative relationships and communication between SNFs and hospitals are more important than ever.
- Also, here is some solid analysis regarding variables that can unfairly skew readmission rates—lower income and minority populations, for example, tend to readmit at higher than average rates. Many question whether hospitals serving the neediest populations might face the greatest penalties. As the linked article notes, dual-eligible Medicaid/Medicare patients reflect the income disparity, with dual-eligibles readmitting at 23.8 percent compared to 17.3 percent of non-dual eligibles. (This is a key reason we enabled tracking of dual-eligible patients in our Referral Management System for SNF census building and admissions management.)
- Finally, an nice article about how the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign works to reduce hospital readmissions. Click here to learn more about the mission and results of this organization.