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Home is where they have to take you back…

November 27, 2012

A Recent NYT article on penalties for hospital re-admissions brings up a few things I’ve been trying to emphasize on this blog for some time.  What causes re-admissions, that is, going back to the hospital within a week or so of coming out?  Not taking or understanding your medications correctly; not taking them correctly; not knowing the warning signs that mean you should call someone; not understanding your discharge instructions, or your advocate not understanding them; not showing up for follow-up appointments; not being your own advocate and speaking out if you feel you’re being rushed out.  Yes there are other reasons that are not you responsibility.  Yes hospitals benefit if you are sent home sooner.  I personally don’t know any physicians who would do this but it’s a risk.  You may be poor and can’t afford the recommended treatment.  You have no one at home to help you.  You can’t get to your appointments.  The hospital expects things you can’t deliver, like getting your meds or going to rehab or keeping track of your blood pressure.  Thats ok.  Stuff happens.  Sometimes you really do have to go back in and try it again.

My point is that now hospitals are going to get dinged financially if too many people bounce back.  That means THEY ARE MOTIVATED TO HELP YOU.  Money runs the world, and now the money is flowing in your favor.  The article lists a number of things hospitals and doctors are doing to help people stay out of the hospital.  Work with these people.  And remember that the coffee stinks in the hospital.  Don’t be forced to drink that swill any longer or more frequently than you have to.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/health/hospitals-face-pressure-from-medicare-to-avert-readmissions.html?ref=health&_r=0

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