Lowering preventable readmission rates for rural hospitals in Kentucky doesn’t have to be tricky

Written by Tom Cox, CEO, MyHealthDirect | June 6, 2016

Reducing congestive heart failure readmissions is a tricky business for hospitals across the United States. According to the American Heart Association, one million people in America will be hospitalized for heart failure and about 250,000 will be back in the hospital within a month. The Affordable Care Act ushered in Medicare’s Hospital Reimbursement Reduction Program, which is just beginning to lower the number of preventable hospital readmissions across many categories, perhaps most notably for CHF.

However, CMS is now withholding up to three percent of reimbursements from facilities that experience higher-than-desired readmissions within 30 days. It’s well documented that as many as 20 percent of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted in this timeframe.

In 2015, 2,592 hospitals, nearly half of all hospitals in the United States, faced penalties to their Medicare reimbursements for a high number of 30-day readmissions. The projected fees of these penalties are expected to cost hospitals a combined $420 million.

Kentucky Not Immune

Like many other states, Kentucky hospitals aren’t immune to this problem. Of the 38 hospitals nationwide currently facing the highest Medicare penalties for readmissions between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, 20 percent are based in Kentucky. While some of these readmissions may be unavoidable, without a doubt some of them can be prevented.

Read the rest of the article on Medical News.

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