Medicare's hospital readmission penalties kick in

Share this article:

On Monday, Medicare began fining nearly two-thirds of hospitals that have high numbers of patients who are readmitted within 30 days of discharge for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia.

The readmission penalties, estimated to cost the average hospital about $125,000 per year, are part of an Affordable Care Act initiative aimed at improving quality and lowering government costs.

Some experts believe that the penalty is still low enough that hospitals will opt to pay it rather than change readmission policies.  But others believe the initiative holds opportunity for nursing homes because it encourages hospitals to partner with quality post-acute providers as a means of reducing readmissions.

"We are also spreading our wings a little and reaching outside the hospital, to the extent that we can, to make sure patients are getting the ongoing treatment they need," Nancy Foster, the American Hospital Association's vice president for quality and safety, told the Associated Press.

Currently, readmission penalties are capped at 1% of a hospital's Medicare payments for the first year, but will eventually rise to 3% under the ACA.

Share this article:

More in News

Also in the news for Sept. 22, 2014

ER support program can reduce hospital admissions among seniors, study says ... Researchers find defect that may lead to Alzheimer's ... Technical glitch may cause milions in payment delays for physicians who adopted EHRs

Enterovirus hits KY nursing home

Nine residents at the Heritage Hall nursing home are confirmed to have a strain of enterovirus, according to local reports.

AHCA applauds Senate passage of IMPACT Act

The Senate approved the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, drawing praise from the American Health Care Association and the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care.