Well, here is Medicare's latest attempt to "save" money. The edict has come down from on high that if a Medicare patient is readmitted to the hospital with the same diagnosis within 30 days, the hospital will be paid NOTHING for the admission. It is hard for me to comprehend the logic behind this. I guess the gubment is saying we should have fixed them the first time and if they come back again, they just won't pay.
The problem here is that when dealing with very old and very sick people who have compromised immune systems and very little "reserve" it is entirely possible to come down with the same ailment within a very short period of time. For instance, if a demented, total care nursing home patient is treated and cured of a pneumonia. That same patient may aspirate a week later and once again develop a life threatening pneumonia requiring hospitalization. It is simply nobody's fault. That is just the way it is.
Now I am also told that if a Medicare patient is readmitted within 30 days for ANY reason, cuts will be made to the hospital. I had some trouble finding out the exact amounts of the cuts but I was told it would be a "percentage" of the normal payment. In other words if a Medicare patient is treated for pneumonia and finally discharged and then 2 weeks later, the same patient comes back in and is admitted with a urinary tract infection, the hospital will be penalized by a "percentage" of its normal reimbursement.
Well, I am sorry to say but the ones that will ultimately suffer will be the Medicare patients. These patients requiring readmission will fall under closer and closer scrutiny. Doctors will be pressured more and more NOT to readmit these patients. Sadly, some of these old folks will fall through the cracks and will die because of this. Might as well just push grandma and grandpa off the cliff. It's just another form of death panels that tries to shift the blame to doctors and hospitals.
Other victims will be struggling hospitals, some which will have to close. They just won't be able to provide free care to the masses. Also many doctors will retire or otherwise bail out of Medicare. When all this happens, the burden will once again be shifted back to the seniors. You can have the best insurance in the world and it won't matter if there is no doctor or hospital to take care of you.
I can't think of any other private industry which is required by the federal gubment to provide free services to the masses. It is the worst form of Fascism.
How would you feel if one day you went to your 40 hour a week job and your boss told you that you'd now be required by the gubment to work 10 of those hours for free? Well, this is exactly what we are facing in the heath care industry today.