Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet

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From Hospital to Nursing Home to Hospital

Posted Friday, June 29, 2018 by Morgan Cartwright

The elderly end up in hospitals due to falls, disease, stroke, and illness. Often, patients are forced to nursing homes sooner than may be ideal for their health. Unfortunately, many of these homes fail to live up to provide the needed care. This includes not heeding or receiving accurate hospital/physician instructions and creating new problems. Many are potentially preventable conditions, including dehydration, infections, and medication errors.

As a result, the elderly patients often arrive to the nursing home from the hospital and are sent back shortly thereafter. Federal records show that one in five Medicare patients sent to a nursing home from the hospital are sent back to the hospital within 30 days. Further, out of the nation’s 15,630 nursing homes, one out of five send 25% or more of their patients back to the hospital. This is largely a result of financial coverage of these patients for both the hospitals and nursing homes, including variable rates according to hospital treatment time, higher nursing home insurance coverage upon return from hospital, and bed-hold insurance.

However, even the fifth of nursing homes with the lowest overall readmission rates were at about 17%. As a result, the government has stepped in to try to address this readmission problem. In 2013, the government began fining hospitals for high readmission rates to discourage premature discharges and encourage referrals to good nursing homes. Starting this October, the government will start giving nursing homes bonuses or penalties on their Medicare rehospitalization rates.

While the government’s readmission policies are just beginning to take form, there seems to be progress. The rate of potentially avoidable readmissions dropped to 10.8% in 2016 from 12.4% in 2011. However, there are some who worry the effect will be that bad nursing homes will stop sending patients to the hospital.

Medicare Eyes Hospital Readmissions from Nursing Homes

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