With hospitals pushing patients out the door earlier, nursing homes are deluged with increasingly frail patients. But many homes, with their sometimes-skeletal medical staffing, often fail to handle post-hospital complications — or create new problems by not heeding or receiving accurate hospital and physician instructions.
Patients, caught in the middle, may suffer. One in 5 Medicare patients sent from the hospital to a nursing home boomerangs back within 30 days, often for potentially preventable conditions such as dehydration, infections and medication errors, federal records show. Such re-hospitalizations occur 27 % more frequently than for the Medicare population at large.
The revolving door is an unintended byproduct of long-standing payment policies. Medicare pays hospitals a set rate to care for a patient depending on the average time it takes to treat a typical patient with a given diagnosis. That means that hospitals effectively profit by earlier discharge and lose money by keeping patients longer, even though an elderly patient may require a few extra days. However, the nursing homes aren’t free from guilt, as keeping patients out of hospitals requires frequent examinations and speedy laboratory tests — all of which add costs to nursing homes.
Starting this October, the government will discuss giving nursing homes bonuses or assessing penalties based on their Medicare re-hospitalization rates.
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Long Term Care Insurance is an option to consider for your future; do you have a plan? There are many options from which to choose that not only cover in-home or nursing home care, but several others as well, such as adult day care & assisted living. Give us a call & let’s talk. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions so that you can make the best decision for you.