Hospitals with dedicated ERs for seniors look to improve care and prevent readmissions

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Hospitals in Southeast Michigan have been rolling out new emergency rooms catering exclusively to older adults. Built partly in anticipation of a ballooning senior citizen population in coming years, these hospitals have found that senior ERs lower costs by preventing readmissions.

Under new healthcare reform laws, hospitals that admit patients less than 30 days after discharge can be penalized in the form of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, according to The Detroit News. Officials are not sure how much revenue hospitals may lose, but some hospitals receive almost 50% of their revenue from Medicare.

Patients report the care they receive in senior ERs is better than the often-hurried treatment they get in traditional ERs. The staff in these units receive extra training in geriatrics and make an effort to design exam rooms that are much more patient-focused than other ERs. Employees also spend more time going over discharge information and give patients instructions on follow-up care and self-care, USA Today reported.