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8 Reasons Why Hospitals Should Reduce Bed Volume

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 6, 2011
We are in for big changes in the next few weeks, months and years from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or Super Committee, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, numerous accountable and pay for performance incentives and the folks in Washington who will decide the fate of the Sustainable Growth Rate.

These decisions are certain to further drive down rates of reimbursement for hospitals, physicians and other providers. And who knows how they will choose to compensate for that, whether by reducing services, salaries and staff, merging forces, postponing construction projects and by just being logarithmically more efficient than they are today.

Or by contriving ways to market more services with hefty margins, whether justified or not. 

As Fisher said, the problem is not just readmissions, "it's avoidable admissions overall."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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3 comments on "8 Reasons Why Hospitals Should Reduce Bed Volume"


OR MD MBA (10/8/2011 at 9:04 AM)
So lets take a routine patient. Grandma's not acting right, ends up being a mild UTI. Probably could go home by many standards but family is insistent. She was just in 3 wks ago with a generalized weakness/UTI so in reality it's a social admission b/c family can't deal with her right now. So, do I readmit her and get dinged or do I refuse the admission and piss off the family and get low satisfaction scores under HCAHPS. Oh, and while I'm spending all this time explaining why she can't be admitted, the waiting room is backing up increasing my wait times which is a new P4P CMS metric. Or better yet, I cave in and re-admit her and because there's less beds, she is now a hold in my ER. Can't wait for your rose colored healthcare world.

Lewis Allen (10/7/2011 at 9:26 PM)
I've performed laboratory work for a few decades now and believe you've missed the mark regarding hospitals and census counts. Hospitals are already closing beds, rooms and entire wings. Insurance providers have been forcing these closures for years as they decrease reimbursement for hospital services, jack up rates and/or deny coverage to patients, while ensuring they themselves receive 100 cents on the dollar as payment (ala Blue Cross/Blue Shield). Insurance providers have become the "attack dogs" for Socialist government policy, whose goal is to consolidate medical services into few, huge, "Centers of Excellence", where they can pay as little as possible for such "excellence". I assure you that patients are ill-served by having to travel 3 or 4 hours to a "center of excellence" for regular medical care. And let's not forget intense, Lawyer Greed, that has crippled physicians abilities to pay enormous premiums to simply "go to work". Physicians are forced to pass costs along or be forced into retirement. Fewer practicing physicians means worsening and unhealthy outcomes for needy patients.

JRG MD MBA (10/6/2011 at 7:56 PM)
Most of your analysis sounds like either wish fulfillment or you have been smoking something. Have you ever spent as much as a day providing any sort fo medical care?