Preventable Hospitalizations Down Among American Seniors

According to a new report by the United Health Foundation on the state of seniors’ health, preventable hospitalizations have dropped. The third edition of its annual America’s Health Rankings Senior Report show “encouraging news for senior health nationally,” but also indicates the setbacks seniors have faced compared to previous years.

Among the major gains is a 6.8 percent reduction in preventable hospitalizations, a measure that’s also dropped 11 percent since 2013. Reasons for the reduced hospital admissions and readmissions include the push for better population health management and the shift from fee-for-service model to value-based payments.

The report also found a 9.3 percent increase in the number of home health workers year over year, and a 38 percent increase in seniors who choose hospice care at the end of their lives. These findings are supported by a recent report that indicated nursing homes may replace hospitals as the major providers of senior care – a trend that is fueled by the increased interest in palliative care.

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Medicare To Punish Hospitals For Readmissions

Medicare will fine hospitals nationwide a total of $227 million as a way to try and reduce the number of patients readmitted within a month. Interestingly, hospitals that treated a large pool of low-income patients were more likely to fall short and face penalties rather than hospitals will fewer low-income patients. Hospitals will bill for two stays instead of one if the patient is readmitted within a month and is costing Medicare $1 billion per year.

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Reducing Hospital Readmissions: CMS Shows Progress

A new analysis from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shows progress on reducing hospital readmission rates. CMS found all-cause, 30-day readmissions for Medicare patients dropped to 18.4% in 2012 which translates into 70,000 fewer readmissions during the year.

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