Monday, July 13, 2009

CMS rating hospitals based on readmission

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is now rating hospitals based on readmission data and mortality. Should healthcare providers get rated based on readmission statistics? New ratings on 4,000 hospitals will show up on the CMS "Hospital Compare" Web site which can be found at:
CMS officials have suggested that readmission data - how frequently patients return to a hospital after being discharged - may be "a possible indicator of how well the facility did the first time around. Readmission rates will help consumers identify those providers in the community who are furnishing high-value healthcare with the best results."
As physicians, we are pushed to get patients out of the hospital quickly. Now, any patient who "bouces back" will harm our reputation. Is that fair? What about those non-compliant patients who refuse to adhere to their medication regimens? They are likely to "bounce back" if they get discharged on many critical meds and never fill their prescriptions. Maybe healthcare providers will be more motivated to fire these types patients. If that happens, then no one may want to care for them.

CMS has been tracking the outcomes of hospital care since 2007 when the "Hospital Compare" website provided 30-day mortality rates for heart attack and heart failure.

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