Starting Monday, Medicare will begin fining hospitals that readmit too many Medicare patients for complications within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital.
The effort is part of an attempt to improve quality and lower costs under the 2010 health care reform law.
Nationwide about two-thirds of hospitals that serve Medicare patients will be hit with penalties. To avoid the fines, many hospitals have taken steps to improve post-hospital care such as hiring health coaches for patients.
The fines will at first apply to patients readmitted for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, but Medicare is considering holding hospitals responsible for preventable complications after other procedures such as joint replacements, stenting, heart bypass and stroke treatment.
The hospital industry has expressed concern that teaching hospitals in poorer areas are more likely to be hit with the penalties.
- Washington Post: Hospitals In D.C., Va. To Lose Millions From Medicare
- Lena Sun, reporter for the Washington Post
This segment aired on October 1, 2012.