Armed With Bigger Fines, Medicare To Punish 2,225 Hospitals For Excess Readmissions

From Kaiser Health News:

Medicare identified 2,225 hospitals that will have payments reduced for a year starting on Oct. 1. Eighteen hospitals will lose 2 percent, the maximum possible and double the current top penalty. Another 154 will lose 1 percent or more of every payment for a patient stay, the records show. Hospitals that treated large number of low income patients were more likely to be penalized than those treating the fewest impoverished people.

Data for individual hospitals are available as a printable PDF file or a downloadable CSV spreadsheetState Averages of readmission rates and our methodology are also available.

ED Care Costs More than 2%, but Focus Should Be on Value Anyway

From Emergency Medicine News:

The American College of Emergency Physicians has frequently cited the lower figure for hospital ED costs in its “Just 2%” campaign; that figure was first published in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) in 2008. (See FastLinks.) But Michael Lee, MD, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and colleagues took a more rigorous approach to assessing ED-related expenditures. (Ann Emerg Med 2013 Apr 24 [Epub ahead of print].)

ED expenditures rose to 5.8 percent of the total health care spend with those costs factored in, and possibly more — between 6.2 percent and 10 percent once all the adjustments for Medicaid and Medicare enrollees were made. The figure throws a monkey wrench in “Just 2%,” but more broadly, what does it really mean about the cost of emergency care? Dr. Lee said he thinks that the focus on ED costs — whether you consider them high or low — has diverted attention from the more important question of what patients and the health care system are getting for those dollars spent.