Most hospitals don’t have good ways of measuring the complex costs associated with an individual patient’s stay in the hospital. The VA is one surprising exception.
The success of health reform in the US depends on finding ways to control the growth of costs. Hospital care is expensive. And when patients have to be readmitted unexpectedly after discharge, it can really crank up spending.
As we strive to keep health care costs in line, reducing hospital readmissions is drawing a lot of attention. Reducing preventable readmissions could reduce health care spending and improve quality of care at the same time.
But very little research on readmission costs has been done. An exception is a study that found that one in five elderly Medicare patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, at an estimated cost of $17.4 billion in 2004.
Most hospitals don’t…
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