If a medicare patient needs to be readmitted to a hosipital within 30 days after being discharged the hospital will now be fined at a rate that increases each year. Hospitals will now refer patients to end of life couseling instead of readmitting them to avoid being fined.
If you or an elderly relative have been hospitalized recently and noticed extra attention when the time came to be discharged, there's more to it than good customer service.
As of Monday, Medicare will start fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of President Barack Obama's health care law.
About two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be hit with penalties averaging around $125,000 per facility this coming year, according to government estimates.
Industry officials say they have misgivings about being held liable for circumstances beyond their control. They also complain that facilities serving low-income people, including many major teaching hopitals, are much more likely to be fined, raising questions of fairness. Under the health care law, the penalties gradually will rise.