Post-hospital care spending jumps

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Median cost of a private nursing home room now exceeds $87,000 a year, Genworth survey finds
Median cost of a private nursing home room now exceeds $87,000 a year, Genworth survey finds

Bundled payment experiments are growing while Medicare spending on nursing homes continues to come under scrutiny, according to a Kaiser Health News/Washington Post report. Widely varied care, additional services and costs from state-to-state have drawn the attention of regulators.

New studies are being conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation in an attempt to equalize costs. Proposals have been made for 178 "bundled payment" experiments, which join hospitals and post-acute providers for fixed-sum treatment. An additional 157 tests have been created, many by private companies that have recruited medical providers. 

Data show that spending on post-hospital care has increased at a 5% or greater annual rate in 34 of 50 of the U.S.'s biggest hospital areas. The numerous Medicare payment methods are seen as part of the problem. One suggested fix is a new payment plan that limits the pay for services to a lump sum.

An Institute of Medicine study released last summer reported that inconsistent post-acute care around the country results in 73% of the variation in Medicare spending