Monterey, CA Health Care Reform Is Rolling Out, And It Just Came To A Hospital Near You : View From A Private Duty Caregiverby Richard Kuehn on 10/01/12
Although a number of aspects of President Barack Obama's health care reform are years away from becoming a reality, still others are being rolled out as we speak. Starting on Monday, Medicare rolled out a new policy whereby it will start fining hospitals who have too many patients which are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged. The government estimates that over two-thirds of hospitals which take Medicare patients will be fined this year, with an average of $125,000 coming from each facility. Medicare will also post the offenders online so that consumers can gauge for themselves the quality of care that their local hospitals are providing. The law is being eased in. This year, hospitals will only be gauged on readmissions for three conditions, heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia and the fines will be capped at 1% of Medicare payments. Over the long term, however, more conditions will be added and fines could be as high as 3% of Medicare payments. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, also known as MedPAC, estimates that about 12% of Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized are later readmitted for a potentially preventable problem. That's an extremely high number. Let's hope these new rules keep more seniors safe and independent in their own homes.