Good day all, yet another shoe has dropped in the terror that is Obamacare. (There are so many shoes, they keep them in a warehouse) This time, it’s hospitals that readmit someone who has been released and sent home.
In a story by Fox News,
A provision of ObamaCare is set to punish roughly two-thirds of U.S. hospitals starting this fall over high readmission rates, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.
There are many reasons a patient might be readmitted to a hospital. They could suffer a relapse or something was missed during the original stay. Elderly patients might go in for the same thing several times. This actually happened to my mother. They didn’t find the original cause, but when she went back in a couple of weeks later they discovered she had pneumonia. (She has fully recovered)
Starting in October, Medicare will reduce reimbursements to hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates — which refers to patients who return within a month — by as much as 1 percent. The maximum penalty increases to 2 percent the following year and 3 percent in 2014.
This directly affects my family. It would have affected my late father as well. I’m not the only one concerned by this mess.
Doctors are concerned the penalty is unfair, since sometimes they have to accept patients more than once in a brief period of time but could be penalized for doing so — even for accepting seniors who are sick.
“Among patients with heart failure, hospitals that have higher readmission rates actually have lower mortality rates,” said Sunil Kripalani, MD, a professor with Vanderbilt University Medical Center who studies hospital readmissions. “So, which would we rather have — a hospital readmission or a death?”
According to federal government figures, nearly one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of release, costing taxpayers an estimated $17.5 billion.
“Readmissions has been a low-hanging fruit for Medicare,” said Jordan Rau, a staff writer with KHN, an editorially independent program of the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “They’ve been very unhappy that about 2 million Medicare beneficiaries are being readmitted every year between 30 days of discharge.”
Someone call me a WAAAAAAAABULANCE!! Maybe Der Fubar had NOT looted $700 billion from the Medicare system to fund that totalitarian’s wet dream known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we wouldn’t have to worry about throwing my mother into the street.
The penalties are intended to create financial incentives for the quality of care hospitals provide, instead of the number of procedures. But physicians debate whether readmission rates are the best measure of outcomes.
“We need to readmit this patient!”
“Well, she’s been here once already…Nope! To expensive. Send her home!”
“But she may die!”
“Oh Well, them’s the breaks. She’s old and not worth anything anyway. Besides, we have our orders from The ScoaMF’s Death panel. I’ll call the morgue and have them ready a slab.”
Kripalani and some other physicians are concerned that readmissions-based penalties may have a disproportionate effect on research hospitals because they handle large numbers of complex cases.
“Often these kinds of institutions take care of the most sick patients,” Kripalani said. “They’re sent patients by other hospitals because of specific expertise they have. So, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that some of the nation’s best hospitals do have slightly higher readmission rates compared to other hospitals.”
Oh, don’t worry doctor. There won’t be any more research under Obamacare. It’s to expensive.
Some physicians are also concerned about what impact Medicare penalties will have on “safety-net” hospitals that treat large numbers of poor patients with limited access to primary and followup care. However, researchers who helped Medicare develop its quality assessment guidelines say the measures take into account the relative illness of patients coming into each hospital.
“The readmission measures are risk-adjusted measures,” said Susannah Bernheim, MD, director of quality measurement programs at Yale School of Medicine’s Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE). “So, if safety-net hospitals are caring for patients that are generally sicker, that’s going to be accounted for by the measures. What I think is really remarkable is how well many safety-net hospitals in this country do on the readmission measure.”
Yeah, right, and I have a bridge I want to sell you Doc. This is nothing less then the beginning of government mandated rationing. You might want to review your Hippocratic Oath2 Doc. I think this part applies here:
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
If you think that Obamacare and the utter destruction of the American Healthcare system will do no harm, then you need to hand in your license and go sell used cars. Obviously you are not fit to treat the sick and injured. I’ll tell you something else. If some petty little bureaucrat tells me that my mother won’t be admitted because she has been in to many times, you will be looking down the barrel of a gun. Probably several as the entire family tells you why you will admit my mother. Picture this happening many many times around the country. Oh, thinking that the police might help said petty little bureaucrat? That officer’s chronically ill child was just informed they won’t allow him back in either. Oh look, he’s checking the batteries on his Taser and looking rather angry.
Now Medicare has some major structural issues, and yes it needs a major overhaul. Throwing sick people into the street because Der Fubar thinks they aren’t worth anything, (Particularly if they check the voter roles and see that person is a Republican), is NOT the way to do it. We have one chance left to toss this disaster on the ash heap with history. That’s to toss Obama and his minions on that same ash heap in November.
~The Angry Webmaster~