Hospitals put 7-figure price tag on readmission penalties

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon begin levying payment penalties on hospitals with high rates of patient readmissions. The costs associated with such readmissions could run well into the high six or low seven figures a year for single, large facilities, reported Kaiser Health News.

According to KHN, 2,211 hospitals will start being penalized for readmissions for certain conditions in October. The average penalty will be 0.42 percent of revenue, but 278 facilities will receive the maximum penalty of 1 percent.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center will be penalized at the rate of 0.62 percent, which will range between $500,000 and $1 million per year, according to The Tennessean.

"Every dollar hurts, and they're all important to us," Warren E. Beck, senior vice president of finance at Vanderbilt, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, nearby Saint Thomas Health hospital system expects to lost about $1.2 million a year, including a $326,000 annual loss to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, which will be penalized at the 1 percent rate, according to The Tennessean.

In Ohio, Wexner Medical Center in Columbus expects to lose about $700,000 a year, reported The Columbus Dispatch, but officials are not griping.

"I think overall it's going to allow us to give a higher quality of care more efficiently and more effectively, and I think actually we're all excited to do that," Blair Vermilion, M.D, the medical director of utilization management at Ohio State University healthcare system, which operates Wexner, told the Dispatch.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the Tennessean article
- read the Columbus Dispatch article