Hospitals with high readmissions get priority in CMS pilot program

Many of Florida's largest hospitals scored poorly enough in Medicare readmissions that they will get placement preference in a new pilot program to cut down on such rates, reports Health News Florida.

Examining high readmission rates is significant because they drive up costs and lower reimbursement, and in 2013 Medicare will stop paying for many readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Sections of Florida have among the highest Medicare costs in the U.S.

The five hospitals are Shands-Jacksonville, Florida Hospital System in Orlando, Jackson Health System in Miami, Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hollywood and Orlando Regional Medical Center. All of the facilities scored in the lowest quartile of hospitals statewide regarding readmissions.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will launch this summer a new demonstration project, the Community-Based Care Transition Program, that will help hospitals with high readmission rates reduce their numbers. All of the Florida hospitals would qualify, according to CMS officials.

"The thinking is that they have the most room for improvement," said Donald McLeod, a CMS spokesman.

For more information:
- read the Health News Florida article
- read about the CMS demonstration project