Tuesday, January 5, 2016

NY Times Article on Financial Incentives and Shorter Hospital Stays

Dana Halvorson

On January 4, 2016, an article written by health economist Austin Frakt and entitled, The Hidden Financial Incentives Behind Your Shorter Hospital Stay, was included in the New York Times. Frakt states in his article, “Since 2010, when almost one in five Medicare hospital patients returned within 30 days, hospital readmissions have fallen considerably. Though this fact was highlighted by the Obama administration, some people are seeing evidence that hospitals are gaming the metric. For instance, patients who are placed under “observation status” are not counted in the readmissions metric even though they may receive the same care as patients formally admitted to the hospital. Likewise, patients treated in the emergency room and not admitted to the hospital do not affect the readmissions metric either. As readmissions have fallen, observation status stays and returns to the emergency department after a discharge have risen.” For more information about the observation stays issue, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

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