The goals of future hospitals are to release patients and keep them from returning. According to an article from US News & World Report by Susan Brink, approximately twelve percent of Medicare patients are readmitted to hospitals for reasons that could have been avoided had they never been discharged in the first place. This remarkable pattern costs Medicare $1 billion every year, and is the reason for a new Medicare penalty program that will begin holding hospitals accountable beginning October 1, 2013. Hospitals that have patients return within 30 days for the same medical issues, complications from previous procedures conducted by the same facilities, or “unnecessary” reasons (as deemed by Medicare), will be slapped with tremendous fines.
Susan Brink predicts this Medicare policy change, which will be enacted to halt the “revolving door of hospitalizations”, will be followed by private insurers, who will mirror the policy’s payment system. To read more about the new Medicare law’s exceptions and the challenges it may pose, see the full article here.