Forum Session

High Rehospitalization Rates: Causes, Costs, and Accountability
May 29, 2009


Laura A. Dummit


The President's 2010 budget proposes to cut Medicare payments to hospitals that have a high share of patients rehospitalized shortly after a previous inpatient stay. This proposal is consistent with an option of the Senate Committee on Finance and recommendations by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. This reduced payment would provide hospitals with incentives to decrease preventable rehospitalizations, a goal with which few would argue. Indeed, some might say that reducing rehospitalizations is the kind of low-hanging fruit needed to bankroll health care reform. Harvesting this fruit, however, requires hospitals, physicians, and post-acute providers to work together to better coordinate care. This Forum session explored the reasons for rehospitalizations, what hospitals can do to reduce them, and the costs and consequences of holding hospitals financially accountable for rehospitalizations.


Norbert I. Goldfield, MD, Medical Director, 3M Health Information Systems; Denise Remus, PhD, RN, Chief Quality Officer, BayCare Health System; Stephen Rosenthal, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Care Management Company; Wayne Lerner, DPH, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holy Cross Hospital

Slides for the presentations by Dr. Goldfield, Dr. Remus, Mr. Rosenthal, and Dr. Lerner are available for download. Speakers' biographies are also available.

Related Materials

See also the entries for two Forum sessions on chronic care coordination: "Coordinating Care for Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions: Searching for the Holy Grail" (March 27, 2009), and "Promising Models of Care Coordination for Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions: Getting Closer to the Holy Grail?" (April 3, 2009).

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