Saturday, September 05, 2009

Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 5

William Jacobson is looking at HR 3200, picking pages at random. Throwing Darts at HR3200 - Day 5 Shared via AddThis
The page selected for today’s post is page 294 of the House Bill, which is part of the 19-page long Section 1151, “Reducing Potentially Preventable Hospital Readmissions.� This section is a microcosm of the health care debate, pitting the needs of individual patients against the need of the government to control health care costs.

Suffice it to say that someone has spent a lot of time drafting a formula in Section 1151 to create an incentive for hospitals which have high readmission rates to lower those rates under threat of decreased Medicare payments. The key thing is that these calculations do not take into account whether any one particular patient’s readmission was unnecessary. Rather, this is a macro-level analysis of an entire hospital based on “excess� readmission rates.

Patients, however, are micro, not macro. While lowering “excess� readmissions is an admirable goal, penalizing hospitals and excluding individual patient readmissions based on macro-level statistics is a blunt instrument.

Day 7, the last in his series, with links to the other 6, is here.

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