Medicare is punishing nearly 2,500 hospitals for high readmissions, reports KHN. That's nearly half of all U.S. hospitals.
The penalties are required under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. KHN analyzed federal data for this latest annual round of penalties and found that the average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment for each Medicare patient stay from the start of October 2021 through September 2022.
Of the more than 3,000 hospitals for which Medicare evaluated readmission rates (the remaining hospitals are exempt from the program), more than 80% received a penalty. The fines, KHN notes, can be heavy, averaging more than $200,000 for a hospital in 2018, according to federal data. Thirty-nine hospitals received the maximum 3% reduction. Only about 550 hospitals had readmission rates low enough to escape any penalty.
Among those hospitals that avoided penalty are Dialog Health clients. We tell you this for two reasons. One, we love to see our clients doing good for patients, and reducing readmissions is one of the best ways to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary costs, including those associated with penalties. And two, we know our two-way texting platform is helping these clients keep their readmission rates low.
How much of a difference can text messaging make? More than you may expect. As we highlight on our webpage sharing results of clients using Dialog Health, one hospital was able to achieve a more than 80% reduction in readmissions in just 90 days. Furthermore, two-way text messaging also saved many staff hours saved by decreasing phone calls to patients, improved patient satisfaction, and strengthened staff workflow and efficiency.
Whether you use our easy-to-use, cloud-based, and HIPAA-compliant texting platform or not, it's become best practice to include text messaging in a communications plan to reduce penalties, overall healthcare costs, and harm to patient perspectives of their hospital care experience (i.e., satisfaction scores). We'd love to show you how we're helping hospitals like yours leverage texting to achieve transformational results around readmissions and many other areas. Reach out to us today!