Friday, January 13, 2012

Rock Vs. Hard Place

Surgeon-blogger "Skeptical Scalpel" notes "Not news: Shorter hospital lengths of stay = higher readmission rates".

This illustrates the two jaws of the trap being set for physicians attempting to practice under upcoming Medicare guidelines. If you allow your patients to stay too long in the hospital, you'll be penalized for wasting valuable societal resources.

But if you discharge patients too early, you'll be penalized for having an unacceptably high readmission rate.

The bureaucrats will claim, "We're not trying to tell doctors how they should practice. We merely want to give them incentives for practicing good medicine." But in reality, they're setting rules that will make practicing good medicine increasingly difficult. And ultimately, it will be patients who pay the price.