Thursday, October 25, 2012

Medicare readmission penalties hit some states harder than others

Kaiser Health News reports that Medicare readmissions penalties are falling hardest on hospitals in New Jersey, New York, Arkansas, Mississippi and the District of Columbia.

Find the article here.

According to KHN, a total of 2,217 hospitals, or 71 percent of those eligible, are receiving penalties for having too many patients with heart attacks, heart failure or pneumonia return within 30 days. Only hospitals with at least 25 heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia cases for Medicare to evaluate were eligible

A total of 307 hospitals received the maximum penalty: a reduction of 1 percent in all of Medicare’s reimbursements for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

These new numbers come after CMS found errors in its initial calculations in August. Learn about the recalculations here

But the new numbers do not represent significant geographic or demographic shifts.

The revised penalties, like their earlier versions, fall hardest on safety-net hospitals.

KHN divides hospitals into four quartiles, based on how many poor patients they tended to treat. In the quartile of hospitals with the most poor patients, 12 percent received the maximum penalty, and only 20 percent avoided any penalty. By contrast, in the quartile of hospitals with the fewest poor patients, only 7 percent received the maximum penalty, and 33 percent were not penalized at all.

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