WSJ: Medicare Rules Reshape Hospital Admissions

Hospital Discharge
Return-visit rate drops, but change in billing tactics skews numbers, WSJ reports.

Return-visit rate drops, but change in billing tactics skews numbers, WSJ reports.

At Banner Health’s general hospitals, the rate of heart-failure patients who wind up admitted to the hospital again soon after leaving has been dropping significantly, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Medicare billing data.

So has the readmission rate for patients treated for pneumonia and three other serious conditions. … But this seemingly good news isn’t as encouraging as it appears. At Banner, based in Phoenix, and at hospitals around the country, more patients are entering or re-entering hospitals under something called “observation status”—a category that keeps them out of the readmission tallies. (Weaver, Wilde Mathews and McGinty, 12/1)

Read full story here.