This year, University of Missouri Hospital was one of many hospitals in the state penalized for not meeting Medicare’s readmission rate goals, which are used to judge the quality of patient care in a hospital.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services penalized University of Missouri Health Care $70,000 in 2013 for not meeting the goal it set last year aimed at reducing readmission rates.
Mary Jenkins is a spokesperson for the University of Missouri Health system. She says the penalty was due to the lowered readmission rate goal, not because University of Missouri Health care rates increased. “Our readmission rate in 2013 for heart attack was 17.7 percent," she said. "That percentage was below the national average, which was 17.9 percent. But it did not meet the CMS target rate of 16.4 percent."
Not everyone thinks these rates provide an accurate look into the quality of health given in a hospital.
Dave Dillion is the spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association. He says because not everyone has access to health services it may skew the numbers and that hospitals might avoid treating patients because of a fear of being penalized: “In some cases in no matter how diligent the hospital is in providing the type of discharge instructions and care that they can, we may find that that individual may come back simply because the community supports weren’t there for them,” Dillion said.
Overall Missouri hospitals were penalized $8.5 million in 2013.
University of Missouri Health Care has set their own goal of reducing all unplanned readmission rates by 10 percent in 2014.