Medicare readmission revisions have little local impact

Nashville-area hospitals faring no worse than before

Earlier this spring, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it had erred slightly — for the second time in six months — in calculating hospital readmission penalties, a mistake affecting more than 1,000 hospitals located across the country.

Nationally, according to Kaiser Health News, hospitals will pay an estimated $10 million less in penalties — a 0.03 percent change — than CMS had previously calculated. The total tab is expected to reach $280 million for this year. Kaiser’s analysis compares the September to March revisions.

Locally, the impact has similar meaning. Nashville hospitals will incur an average 0.01 percent penalty increase over the August calculations. See the chart linked here. Note that our analysis considers the August 2012 penalties instead of September’s.   

Reductions in Medicare reimbursement dollars apply to hospitals that readmit patients for the same condition within a 30-day period. The penalties — part of a broader push in health care to pay for performance rather than volume — were first calculated last summer and first applied in October. The September results were used in determining penalties assessed in October. The March revisions are being applied retroactively.