CMS to scrutinize transfers between acute care and skilled nursing

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An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General's report has prodded the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services to vow increased emphasis on "continuity of care" issues, including hospital readmissions.

The OIG report, "Consecutive Medicare stays involving inpatient and skilled nursing facilities," revealed that 35% of transfer patients experienced qualify-of-care problems or fragmentation of services, or both. Some 11% suffered problems with unnecessary or inappropriate admissions, treatments, discharges or quality of care. One in five cases studied could not be assessed properly because of lack of documentation.

CMS concurred with the investigative body's recommendations calling for stricter monitoring of fragmentation of services and quality issues associated with patient transfers. Many of the investigation's findings mirrored those from a similar GAO report two years ago, agency authors noted.