Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Silly Medicare Policy: Penalizing Hospital for 30 Day Readmissions

Medicare needs to remember that people are not cars.  They seem to treat hospitals like automobile repair shops. In other words, you should be able to change the tire, send them on their  way and not see them for another 5,000 miles.
Curt Schroeder,  Head of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council,  quoted in August 17, 2012 Kaiser  Health News
August 19, 2012 -   “Silly,” as defined in my dictionary, is “ridiculous,  lacking common sense.”
Among the silly aspects of current Medicare policy are these.
One,  that taking $716 billion out of Medicare trust fund as part of Obamacare does not change “Medicare as we know it.”
Two, that financing Medicare  hospitals and physicians by cutting their revenues and incomes by roughly  40%  over the next decade “saves” Medicare and extends “access.”
Three, that rising hospital readmission rates are the fault of hospital and physician careless discharge planning and should be punished by decreasing hospital Medicare funding.
Four, that hospitals and doctors  should be able to completely control patient behavior  and patient’s chronic diseases once the patients are outside their reach.
Medicare patients, as Curt Schroeder, head of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, reminds us are not like cars.
Medicare patients are human beings.  You cannot repair  their aging  engines,  replace their degenerative spare  parts,  change their batteries,   pump up their deflated tires, trade them in for a new model, or even give them a spring tune-up, especially when they have left the repair shop and return to  to conditions in their former enviroment that bright them to the repair shopt.    Patients’ diseases and their ages never leave them, even after the leave the hospital.  Hospitals should not be penalized for that reality.  Health reform cannot  guarantee against hospital readmissions.
Tweet: Among the “silly” and misguided aspects of Medicare policies is penalizing hospitals for 30 day readmissions.

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