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KHN: Medicare Penalizes Hospitals (Some Near You) For High Readmission Rates

(firemind/flickr)
(firemind/flickr)

"Together," the report says. "these hospitals will forfeit about $280 million in Medicare funds over the next year as the government begins a wide-ranging push to start paying health care providers based on the quality of care they provide."

A total of 278 hospitals nationally will lose the maximum amount allowed under the health care law: 1 percent of their base Medicare reimbursements. Several of those are top-ranked institutions, including Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

"A lot of places have put in a lot of work and not seen improvement," said Dr. Kenneth Sands, senior vice president for quality at Beth Israel. "It is not completely understood what goes into an institution having a high readmission rate and what goes into improving" it.

Sands noted that Beth Israel, like several other hospitals with high readmission rates, also has unusually low mortality rates for its patients, which he says may reflect that the hospital does a good job at swiftly getting ailing patients back and preventing deaths...

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which U.S. News last month ranked as the best hospital in the country, will lose 0.5 percent of its Medicare payments because of its readmission rates, the records show.

This program aired on August 14, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.

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