Op-ed by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh: “As more physicians become employees of hospitals, more hospital outpatient services will be provided, which produces an ever increasing cash trove for facilities, while increasing costs for patients and draining Medicare’s financial reserves.”
KHN: Last fall, seeking to improve care and save money, Medicare announced penalties to hospitals to which too many patients returned within a month. Both payment changes are applied to payments for every hospital stay of a Medicare patient. This chart shows the effect of each of those programs on hospitals’ Medicare reimbursements per hospital stay, and the combined effect for the federal spending year that runs from last October through September 2013. Hospitals could gain up to 1 percent in payments or lose as much as 2 percent from the two programs combined.
KHN: In Medicare’s new program that ties about $1 billion in payments to quality of care, hospitals in Fort Wayne, Ind., are faring the best on average while hospitals in Washington, D.C., are doing the worst, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the country’s 212 major health care markets.
“The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government’s most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients.”
A recent NEJM report says Medicare’s policy of not paying for the treatment of two types of hospital infections has not shown to decrease infection rates. But there may be more to the story.
Consumer Reports comments on a new study by the New England Journal of Medicine regarding Medicare’s nonpayment policy for hospital infections.
Our leaders in Congress experience medical harm, too. On Monday, Politico reported that Pennsylvania U.S. Congressman John Murtha had died as a result of complications from recent gallbladder removal surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
You’ve heard of UFOs but have you heard of RFOs? 194 Pennsylvanians could tell you about their RFO encounter last year – that’s how many cases of “retained foreign objects” were reported to that state’s Patient Safety Authority in 2008.