Managed care has been around for almost one hundred years, at least in theory. When placed up against fee-for-service payment models, however, it was a hard sell. Traditionally, the way that physicians were compensated for their services was a fairly straight-forward invoicing process: they would bill the patient (or later, the payer) for everything they did in terms of diagnosing or treating the patient. Everything.
October 1st of last year, CMS cracked down on readmission rates for hospitals nationwide, handing out millions of dollars in penalties. The Affordable Care Act put these measures into place in order to curb the problem of readmissions, which are not only costly, but reflect an overall poor population health in the U.S. - especially for those patients with chronic conditions. For FY ‘14, 2% was withheld from payments per the guidelines for penalties. By 2015, the rate of withholding for penalties is expected to top 3%. In addition to the higher payments, there will also be additional diagnoses included in the readmission criteria list - it began with heart attacks, pneumonia and heart failure and will now expand to include COPD and complications from chronic lung conditions.
When we talk about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) , a lot of people think that they are nothing more than a second try at the ol’ Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) of the late 80s. ACOs may have some things in common with HMOs, but when you look a little bit closer you’ll see that there are a few very distinct elements that differentiate them.
ACO stands for Accountable Care Organization. It is a concept that was created as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a nutshell, an ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations who work together in coordinating and transforming healthcare. ACOs benefit both patients and care givers by accomplishing the triple aim: Increase Quality Reduce Cost Improve Patient Experience
The Commonwealth Fund released a report this week that revealed that the U.S. Healthcare System performs the worst- across the board – compared to other healthcare systems in the developed world.
While there are plenty of complex reasons for high rates of readmission, there are plenty that are preventable. Here are the Top 5 Mistakes made by hospitals who top this list.
As most of us are aware, readmissions is a hot topic, especially in terms of the penalties assessed for readmission rates which are excessive. What can you do to reduce or eliminate your readmission rates? There has been a lot of talk about readmissions (avoidable), specifically the healthcare costs associated with them and the effects on the quality of patient care being provided. In order to crack down on these avoidable readmissions, CMS created the Readmissions Reduction Program. The premise of the program is to ding hospitals, with higher than average readmissions (readmitted within 30 days of discharge), by assessing penalties against overall Medicare payments. There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding the program, with many criticisms being cited, such as treating all hospitals alike, not accounting for socioeconomic factors, and the way the penalty is calculated.
Overcrowding in Emergency Rooms (ERs) has been an issue of great concern as of recent years. There are a myriad of reasons why the ERs are overcrowded and ways to overcome. Let’s have a look at them. Expand Hospital Capacity By increasing the bed capacity, overcrowding can drastically go down. When there are more beds, more emergency patients can be admitted. When the population of a country grows, then obviously the number of bed capacity should be increased to avoid overcrowding. Many times, hospitals are perpetually full with admitted patients boarded inReducing overcrowding the ERs. Boarding of inpatients in the ERs is unquestionably the leading cause of overcrowding. While this seems like a simple option, there are infrastructure, costs, and the redesign of processes, to name a few, which need to occur in order to successfully add bed capacity.
Summary: Are you ready for a shift in risk from payer to provider? Will you be ready for value-based purchasing when it becomes required? Are you utilizing other reimbursement models such as bundled payments, Accountable Care Organizations, and Population Health Management? From a provider perspective, healthcare reform is aimed at tightening the purse strings, working more efficiently, reducing waste, and improving quality. The shift of risk has begun which will transform healthcare from a fee-for-service to fee-for-value. When the ultimate transformation ends, is still uncertain. As such, fee-for-service is still being utilized and providers are still generating profits and revenue based on the volume mentality while simultaneously trying to transition to a volume and quantity mentality. Juggling the opposite ends of the spectrum is no easy task.
Chances are, whether your on the administrative or clinical side of hospital operations, lowering readmission rates is high on your priority list. For administrators and financial officers, lowering the costs accrued from readmissions is paramount to staying under budget and for doctors and nurses, having patients prepared for life at home after discharge is the mark of truly community minded care. The patient-centered medical home purports medical decision making as an equal playing field; particularly when it comes to post-discharge measures of patient care.