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While patient stays shorten, readmission rates rise

Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010

To save costs, hospitals for years have been discharging patients after shorter stays. But at the same time more people are having to return to hospital for additional care within a month of their initial treatment, according to a major new study of Medicare heart-failure patients. The findings raise the possibility that the drive to reduce the length of time patients spend in hospitals—a key cost-containment strategy for both government and private insurers—may have backfired when it comes to reducing overall health expenditures related to heart-failure admissions, the Wall Street Journal reports.