Fewer Hospital Readmissions: A Positive or Negative Statistic?

May 27, 2014
In-home Care Los Angeles Lower Readmissions

In-home care near Los Angeles Questions Senior Hospital Success

You may have heard President Obama or another government official recently draw attention to new statistics on senior hospital readmissions. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act are claiming that it has solved this major problem, but in-home care near Los Angeles warns that there is more to the story than mere numbers. While the new legislation has unquestionably had an effect on hospital readmissions, there are differing opinions on exactly what that effect is so far.

Fewer Readmissions on Paper

“On paper,” it is true that readmission of seniors to the hospital within 30 days of discharge has decreased since the implementation of Obamacare. The optimistic among us may assume that the change is due to better care, thorough discharge instructions, and follow-up visits. The basic numbers, though, don’t tell the whole story, and in reality there have not been swift, large-scale reforms in those areas to achieve such results. The reality is probably more pragmatic and less praiseworthy.

Working around the System

Under the new set of healthcare laws, hospitals that readmit seniors within 30 days face a costly penalty. As with any economic problem, hospitals are devising creative ways to solve this one. Often, an easy (but dishonest) fix is to treat a senior again but classify the visit such that the readmission penalty does not apply. By recording the senior as “under observation” instead of formally readmitted to the hospital, staff avoid notifying Medicare and incurring the penalty. Sadly, this approach shifts the cost of the repeat visit to the senior.

Eldercare in Los Angeles: No Tricks!

Amid the confusion of the recent changes to national healthcare law, many seniors and their families are understandably concerned about how their budgets will be affected. It is good to know that eldercare in Los Angeles is still affordable, reliable, and a wonderful alternative to a long-term care facility.

Photo by Bengt Nyman

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