Home Care services provide the infrastructure to enable patients to remain at home, with safety, security, and monitoring of their individual care plans, which avoids costly hospitalization and re-admittance.

See evidence cited below to support such a “care collaboration”…

Medicare is fining a record number of hospitals – 2,610 – for having too many patients return within a month for additional treatments, federal records show. Even though the nation’s re-admission rate is dropping, Medicare’s average fines will be higher, with 39 hospitals receiving the largest penalty allowed, including the nation’s oldest hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

The federal government’s penalties, which begin their third year this month, are intended to jolt hospitals to pay attention to what happens to their patients after they leave. Around the country, many hospitals are replacing perfunctory discharge plans — such as giving a patient paper instructions — with more active efforts, such as ensuring that outside doctors monitor their recoveries, teaming with homecare agencies to provide patient care continuum, as well as giving supplies of medication to patients who may not be able to afford them. Others are still struggling to meet the new expectations. Before the program, some hospitals resisted such efforts because they weren’t paid for the additional services provided post-discharge. And, in fact, most hospitals benefited financially when a patient returned.

Under the new fines, three-quarters of hospitals that are subject to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program are being penalized. That means that from Oct. 1 through next Sept. 30, they will receive lower payments for every Medicare patient stay — not just for those patients who are readmitted. Over the course of the year, the fines will total about $428 million, Medicare estimates.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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