Payment model may encourage post-acute care readmissions

A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has concluded that the prospective payment model encourages many hospitals to discharge patients to skilled nursing or other facilities too early, according to a study announcement. The early discharges not only increase the risk of their readmission to an acute care facility, but the patients are twice as likely to die within 30 days of a second hospital discharge, and four times as likely to die within 100 days of discharge. "Under a prospective payment system, hospitals are incentivized to discharge these patients as early as possible, and in contrast to discharges home, hospitals are not currently penalized for readmissions from PAC (post-acute care) facilities," the authors observed. "PAC facilities may be substituting for prolonged hospital care in some cases." Announcement