Safety-net hospitals, which tend to have higher rates of readmissions, care disproportionately for low-income patients. These facilities attribute those readmissions to poor post-discharge access to doctors and medication.
Several financial leaders at the HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange commented that the readmissions program should be reviewed by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, with particular attention paid to socio-economic factors.
"We were fortunate not to get hit much, [but] that's not the case for everyone in our area," says Michael T. Burke, CFO, senior vice president, and vice dean at NYU Langone Medical Center, a three-hospital system in New York, NY.
"We focused our effort on reducing length of stay and managing the patients in that [Medicare] population so they wouldn't be readmitted. But we also don't have a lot of those patients. A larger percentage of our population is paid for out of employer-based insurance or is Medicare/Medicaid HMO. We tend to find that those patients are more compliant with post-discharge instructions."