Sunday, April 5, 2009

1 in 5 Medicare patients readmitted within month

"One in five Medicare patients ends up back in the hospital within a month of discharge, a large study found, and that practice costs billions of dollars a year."

"The findings suggest patients aren't told enough about how to take care of themselves and stay healthy before they go home, the researchers said. A few simple things — like making a doctor's appointment for departing patients — can help, they said."

"The study found that a surprising half of the non-surgery patients who returned within a month hadn't even seen a doctor between hospital stays."

"About 10% of all readmissions were probably planned, such as putting in a stent, the researchers said. They estimated that unplanned return visits accounted for $17.4 billion of the $102.6 billion that Medicare paid hospitals in 2004."

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