The function of a community hospital is to provide medical care and resources for it’s patient community. But, until now, there has been no responsibility or – “ownership”  – for inefficiency. It is the judgment of Medicare that many hospitals will admit, then discharge, and subsequently re-admit patients for the same diagnosis. In the eyes of Medicare, such a hospital is not being held to a standard of care. Or, put another way, a hospital may not be taking “ownership” of their own patient care services. Many hospitals simply continue to charge medical fees to Medicare and are re-imbursed when a patient is admitted, then discharged, and re-admitted. Medicare feels that such situations can and will be reduced when the hospital has more responsibility to get the patient properly cared for and discharged…the first time.

Home Care Planning is Needed

This issue also calls into question the importance of patient discharge planning.  When hospitals discharge an elderly patient, the “next step” for that patient may not be conducive to continued recovery.  In many cases, discharging  community seniors to return to their homes causes them to regress.  They require a home care plan to enable safety and continued recovery.