Q&A: Readmissions Prevention Expert Warns of Penalties

Cheryl Clark, October 25, 2012

It may surprise some hospital leaders that we're now in the final year of the first three-year performance period that will determine which hospitals receive the most severe (3%) readmissions penalties.

Those penalties take effect with discharges in FY 2015, and persist every year after that.

So you'd think that hospital leaders would be setting readmissions prevention as their top priority, realizing that both the dollars and their reputations are at stake.

But to a large extent, that's not happening, says national readmissions expert Amy Boutwell, MD. She's calling out the industry for this lapse.

While many hospitals have launched readmission reduction efforts, she says, many are doing so in "a modest way." Some think the strategies are unproven or hope that the penalties will go away. And many executives don't understand how much money they could lose, she says. Boutwell elaborated in a recent interview with me.


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