Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Medicare Changing Payments to Hospitals with High Readmission Rates

As has recently been reported, Medicare is planning to release a rule to encourage hospitals to address issues related to readmission. Attempting to reduce costs while improving care quality, the agency is planning to cut back on payments to those hospitals with high readmission rates.

Given this major shift in payments, the work of INQRI researchers from Marquette University could not come at a more important time. Led by Marianne Weiss and Olga Yakusheva, this interdisciplinary team have been studying what hospital-based nurses do to influence outcomes after a patient is discharged from a hospital. Specifically, they identified the contributions that nursing staff make to the quality of discharge teaching and the impact of that teaching on patient outcomes, readiness and readmission rates of patients who are discharged home. They have found that when units had more RN hours per patient day, fewer overtime hours and fewer vacancies, the discharge teaching was of higher quality, patients reported greater readiness for hospital discharge, and post-discharge utilization of readmission and emergency room visits was lower.

Click here to read "Medicare Prepares Rule To Penalize Hospitals With High Readmission Rates" from Kaiser Health News.

Click here to read the Weiss-Yakusheva team's article "Quality and Cost Analysis of Nurse Staffing, Discharge Preparation, and Postdischarge Utilization" in Health Services Research.

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