California Healthline November 1, 2022
Jordan Raou

The federal government has eased its annual penalties for hospitals with higher-than-expected readmission rates in recognition of the upheaval caused by the covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the lightest penalties since 2014.

The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program has been a mainstay of Medicare’s hospital payment system since its inception in 2012. Created by the Affordable Care Act, the program measures how often Medicare patients return to the most hospitals within 30 days and reduced future payments to hospitals that had a higher than expected rate of return. Hospitals can lose up to 3% of every Medicare payment for a year.

The pandemic has thrown hospitals into turmoil, flooding them with covid patients while forcing many to postpone elective surgeries for months. When…

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