The debate over the merits of the Affordable Care Act won’t end soon, but its impact has already started. More than 2,000 hospitals nationwide will have their Medicare reimbursements reduced due to high readmission rates, as detailed in this Kaiser Healthcare Report.
Those numbers illustrate how prevalent the readmission problem has become, and also spells out how many readmissions hospitals are doing and where improvements could be made. Some hospitals in Liberty’s coverage area will not face any reduction in their Medicare reimbursements, but many hospitals will face substantial penalties, up to 1 percent of their reimbursement totals.
Those penalties will cost hospitals millions of dollars, and reflect the changes that need to be made. Home care can make a difference for hospitals, by keeping patients at home and helping them get treatment they need for chronic conditions without having to face a return trip to the hospital within the first 30 days of discharge.
Those first 30 days after discharge are often critical. Patients can return home, and not realize the importance of follow-up care and treatment at home. Some hospitals, including those in Charlotte and Wilmington, have been successful in getting those patients set up for home care and follow up visits. But many hospitals, particularly those in rural areas in the Carolinas and Virginia, have a much more difficult challenge.
Home care can help alleviate this burden. I’ve discussed how home care can help in a previous blog, and the latest news just echoes the importance of getting home care involved. Hospitals must work in coordination with home care companies such as Liberty HomeCare to ensure the best outcomes for their parents. No one wants patients back in the hospital only a few weeks after discharge – that can be a drain for everyone, including the patient and their caregivers. Getting home care involved quickly after discharge is the best approach for all involved.