Given the current cost of health care in the United States, Medicare's attempts to decrease hospital readmissions could produce savings in the billions ("Western Pennsylvania Hospital Readmission Rates Are Improving," Aug. 18). Under the Affordable Care Act, outcome measures were developed focusing on resource-intensive conditions as well as primary and preventative care, including 30-day readmission measures for hospitalwide readmissions.
As a registered nurse, I understand the need to decrease health care costs nationwide. Penalizing facilities for preventable readmissions is, in my opinion, appropriate; however, Medicare's criteria for "readmissions" are concerning.
Medicare reports hospitals can act to reduce readmissions from "all causes" including causes unrelated to their care, such as car accidents, which will not affect results measured because they "should" occur randomly across all hospitals. Some admissions may be unnecessary, but a facility may be penalized if a readmission is due to a broken neck following a car accident in 30 days?
Policies leading to automatic decreased funds received through Medicare may lead to a further decrease in the services provided our patient population. Readmissions should be reviewed rather than automatically result in penalties if the cause is not related to the first admission.
RYAN FLORES, RN, BSN