How Much Do Readmissions Cost Hospitals?

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Shapiro Law Group


Based on the new standards outlined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hospitals all over Florida will pay millions in fines for high readmission rates.

In 2013, almost two million Medicare patients were readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of their initial treatment, costing roughly $26 billion. Healthcare officials believe that they could save Medicare more than $17 billion by preventing unnecessary readmissions.

Since October 2012, Medicare has examined rates for heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia patients. This year, Medicare also examined patients who returned after hip and knee replacements, or chronic lung problems like bronchitis.

Under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, hospitals were fined if they had higher-than- average readmission rates in any category. This year, a record number of Florida hospitals — 148 in all — stand to lose millions of dollars in Medicare payments for unacceptable rates.

Most of the fines amount to less than 1 percent of the hospital’s Medicare payments, but it is still a substantial amount. Medicare estimates the fines will generate more than $428 million nationwide.

How Do Hospitals Plan to Keep Patients Safe?

Many hospitals are replacing perfunctory post-surgical care, like a single sheet of instructions, with active follow-up and engagement. Nurses monitor recovering patients, and provide medication for clients who may not be able to afford it.

Effective post-surgical care helps prevent patient injuries and illnesses. However, some hospitals continue to resist reform, because, under the old system, a hospital made money when patients came back.

When hospitals put profit over their patients, the consequences can be catastrophic. Victims of medical malpractice can suffer harmful infections, traumatic brain injuries and paralysis, all from a negligent doctor.

If a doctor or nurse caused your injuries, the attorneys at Shapiro Law Group want to talk to you. For more information about medical malpractice and medical injury, follow our firm on Facebook or Google Plus.

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