New legislation would reimburse providers for transition of care services

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would reimburse providers for coordination of care services.

The legislation, called the Medicare Transitional Care Act of 2012, seeks to improve transitions of care for Medicare beneficiaries transferring out of the hospital and into a skilled nursing facility or back into their own homes.

The bill would have Medicare give a specific payment — based on performance metrics and improved outcomes — to providers performing coordination activities. The legislation was sponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Thomas Petri (R-WI), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

This legislation comes as hospitals prepare to face penalties for failing to prevent readmissions for conditions such as pneumonia and heart failure. The penalties, which will go into effect Oct. 1, will make strong relationships between hospitals and post-acute providers more important than ever, health experts say.

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