Medicare focuses in on eliminating excessive readmissions

As more hospitals seek to discharge patients after shorter recovery times, nursing houses are treating  frailer patients, which often results in readmissions, according to Kaiser Health News.

Many nursing houses are not equipped to cover extenuated medical treatments, which results in the decline of their residents' health. These patients are then rehospitalized and, in some instances, in worse shape than when they previously visited the hospital. KHN compares this trend to a revolving door or a ping-pong match.

"There's this saying in nursing homes, and it’s really unfortunate: 'When in doubt, ship them out,'" David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Boston-based Harvard Medical School told KHN. "It's a short-run, cost-minimizing strategy, but it ends up costing the system and the individual a lot more."

In October, the government will give nursing homes bonuses or penalties based on their Medicare rehospitalization rates  Between 2011 and 2016, avoidable readmissions for nursing homes dropped 1.6 percent, according to Congress' Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

"We’re better, but not well," Grabowski told KHN. "There's still a high rate of inappropriate readmissions."

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