The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

March 1, 2014

Dennis Lanane: Triad to discuss hospital readmission rates

Madison County Triad will host a meeting at Mounds Mall on March 20 at 10:30 a.m. in the theater area. The topic will be about what is being done to reduce re-admissions to hospitals.

Medicare has been revising hospital payments based on the conformance of their Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems (IPPS) quality standards. This is part of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The Affordable Care Act authorizes Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals with excessive readmissions.

The claim being made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that runs Medicare, is that they are changing the way Medicare pays for hospital care by rewarding hospitals for delivering services of higher quality and higher value. They also claim that this will help reduce the costs of health care and improve the quality of care in the United States.

One problem that has been identified is whether discharged patients are taking their medications correctly. Many older adults take medications that play an important role in treating various health conditions like heart disease. Some people accidentally take medicines incorrectly, often without knowing it or without intending to. They may forget to take their medicine, take it too often, or take the wrong amount.

As people get older, trouble with vision or memory can make it more difficult to take their medications correctly. They may have too many medications that they need to take at different times of the day. This also can be confusing.

Health care plans for patients are now being initiated before they are discharged. One example involves the patient, family member and/or other caregivers, reviewing medications with a pharmacist to make sure that the patient will take their medications correctly. Some medications may or may not have clear directions on the prescription label. For example, certain medicines should be taken with food. This might prevent irritation of the stomach walls.

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