New Medicare Performance Rules Worry Hospitals

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 03:47 PM

By Andra Varin

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Medicare soon will begin tracking how much is spent on individual patients, and hospitals that fail to keep costs down will be penalized. It sounds simple enough, but hospitals say the new system will hold them accountable for things that are not under their control, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Hospitals, Medicare, regulationsUnder the new healthcare law, hospitals could be judged not only on the cost of care they provide but also the cost of care from outside doctors and other healthcare providers for 90 days after a patient is discharged, the Times reported.

The new system kicks in in July, when Medicare will become totaling performance scores. In October 2012, hospitals will begin seeing the monetary effects of the rating system — rewards for reining in costs, penalties for not controlling them.

Charles N. Kahn III, president of the American Federation of Hospitals, told the Times he has no problem with grading a hospital on its own level of patient care, but said it’s not fair to hold hospitals responsible for what happens to a patient as long as 90 days after they are discharged.

“That’s unrealistic, beyond the pale,” he said.

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