As we’ve explored on Perspectives on the Acute Care Continuum, we are living in a world that is focused on reimbursing hospitals based on their performance on core measures, patient satisfaction scores, and mortality rates. However, despite the government’s belief that VBP is the wave of the future, HealthLeaders Media reports that administrators believe the industry is headed in the wrong direction – for the third consecutive year in a row. But there are more and more converts to the VBP way and optimism is growing. HLM does indicate that by prioritizing patient satisfaction and focusing on the “continuum of care,” leaders’ confidence in their ability to meet VBP measures should only grow.
Readmission to the hospital after discharge is an important measure applied by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Recently, however, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) hosted a discussion of healthcare leaders to discuss their report showing little change in hospital readmission rates between 2008 and 2010. Examining data collected by the Dartmouth Atlas Project, the report shows that one in eight Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after being released from surgery – a statistic that has virtually unchanged since 2004 when they began collecting data. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO, reports that hospital readmissions cost hospitals upwards of $30 billion a year. Humayun Tufail, MD, outlined how Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) could be one solution to reducing readmission rates.
Despite readmission rates frequently being at the top of hospital administrators’ agendas, a new study from Michigan State University suggests a link between hospital beds and increased hospitalization rates. Looking at over one million admissions at Michigan hospitals, “researchers found a ‘strong correlation’ between bed availability and use.” Investigators believe providers face pressure from administrators to fill beds and garner more reimbursements; and federal and state regulation could control overutilization.