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Reducing the Price of Hospital Readmission

by Tracy DusablonThe Hospital Readmission Reduction Program is part of the Affordable Care Act, which has ignited heated debates both for and against the program. The program aims to improve quality of care and lower costs by reducing hospital readmissions for Medicare patients. To accomplish this, hospitals are essentially ‘dinged’ when patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and these ‘dings’ turn into financial penalties for the hospitals. As it currently stands, the penalty is one percent of hospital payments, and is set to increase to three percent by 2015.So, how are hospitals dealing with this new policy, which took effect in October 2012? To some extent, they may just be accepting the penalties, chalking it up to the expense of doing business. On a more constructive end, some...

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Paying for what works

In February, President Obama proposed the use of social impact bonds for seven pilot programs to elicit better results from social services. In an effort to reduce support for programs that are not effective, social impact bonds would create accountability for programs to succeed. Specifically, nonprofits, particularly foundations, would pay for the programs up front with the support of the government. The nonprofit and government would agree on performance measures used to evaluate the program's success. If, several years later, those performance measures determine that the program is a success, the government would repay the nonprofit, and possibly provide interest with the repayment. This would reduce the burden of taxpayers' funds being utilized to back ineffective programs.The implementation of social impact bonds could open doors for the role of evaluation...

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