Nationally, one in five Medicare patients who leave the hospital for a nursing home end up back in the hospital. In California, one-fifth of the more than 1,200 nursing homes send at least 24 percent of their Medicare patients back to the hospital. To discourage this trend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon give bonuses and penalties to facilities based on their rehospitalization rates.
The economy and jobs tend to eclipse health care as the top voter concern in competitive congressional and gubernatorial races.
Increasingly, owners of nursing homes outsource services to companies in which they also have financial interest or control. That allows the nursing homes to claim to be in the red while owners reap hidden profits.
In California, Medicare penalized 30 percent of the hospitals it assessed. Seven states saw a third or more of their hospitals punished under the federal heath law’s campaign against hospital-acquired conditions.
Medicare is discouraging regional offices from levying fines for “one-time mistakes” or from using daily fines that seek to put pressure on nursing homes to make changes.
In California, 88 hospitals were penalized, including Stanford Health Care’s hospitals in Stanford and Pleasanton, the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center. Each hospital will have its payments reduced by 1 percent for the year.
A Kaiser Health News analysis of federal inspection records shows that nursing home inspectors labeled mistakes in infection control as serious for only 161 of the 12,056 homes they have cited since 2014.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans would like to see the administration focus on efforts on making the Affordable Care Act work, rather than trying to make it fail.
Medicaid covers about two-thirds of nursing home residents, but it pays less than other types of insurance.
Too often enforcement of rules for dealing with crisis is lax, advocates for nursing home residents say.