Article from Senior Care Advice
For many older people, hospitals have revolving doors.
About one in every five seniors who spends time getting care in a hospital is readmitted within 30 days of being discharged. A hospital readmission often signals a gap in the quality of medical care. In addition, it’s a disruptive and unsettling experience — and an expensive one, too, costing an estimated $17.4 billion every year, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This indicator of substandard care, combined with the reality that hospitals, beholden to payment schemes, are routinely pressured to discharge patients as soon as possible, prompted some recent government action. Included in the Affordable Care Act — which now faces an uncertain future — was the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program. Phased in beginning in 2012, it exacts a penalty on hospitals with higher-than-expected readmissions for specific conditions, including heart attacks, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure — with more conditions measured and monitored each year.