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Long-term hospitals’ lucrative discharge ploy

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A Wall Street Journal analysis found that many long-term hospital companies ”discharge a disproportionate share of patients during that window when hospitals stand to make the most.”

It’s another sign that how financial incentives in the Medicare system affects patient care, and not always for the better.

”Long-term-hospital executives sometimes pursued that goal {of timing discharges} for financial reasons rather than medical ones, say doctors, nurses and former long-term-hospital employees interviewed by the Journal.”

”The Journal analysis of claims Medicare paid from 2008 through 2013 found long-term hospitals discharged 25% of patients during the three days after crossing thresholds for higher, lump-sum payments. That is five times as many patients as were released the three days before the thresholds.”

Hospital executives gain big bonuses from manipulating  these discharge times,  which cost taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.

They’re waiting to see how the Feds address/punish this phenomenon.


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