Did you or someone you care for get a little extra attention when you checked out of the hospital recently? If so, it’s likely because starting today hospitals will be fined if they have too many Medicare patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
The fines are part of the health care reform law, and are an attempt to both improve quality and reduce costs. Nearly 2 million Medicare patients are readmitted each year, costing Medicare $17.5 billion in additional hospital bills.
About two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be penalized this year, with an average fine of about $125,000, according to government estimates. Hospitals in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York will be among the hardest hit, according to reports. For now, hospitals are only being measured on three medical conditions: heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia.