Three-day rule on SNF payments may cost Medicare money

A Medicare rule that requires patients to stay in the hospital for three days before the program will pay for a skilled nursing facility (SNF) may actually cost the program money. A new study in the journal Health Affairs compared Medicare Advantage plans that either still had that rule in place or had eliminated it in recent years. Hospital stays were shorter for patients in plans without the rule, but longer for patients enrolled in a plan that still had the rule in place. No connection was found to either plan having more hospital admissions or more admissions to SNFs. "These trends raise the possibility that the three-day stay policy may both inappropriately lengthen acute hospital stays for patients who could be transferred to skilled nursing facilities earlier and, as a result, increase spending on avoidable hospital care and increase patients' exposure to iatrogenic (medical-treatment-related) complications," the authors of the study concluded. >> Read the full article at FierceHealthcare