Obamacare penalties clobber NC hospitals and patients, Economically depressed areas hit hardest, Readmissions within 30 days for any reason trigger fine

Obamacare penalties clobber NC hospitals and patients, Economically depressed areas hit hardest, Readmissions within 30 days for any reason trigger fine

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”…Barack Obama

“About two-thirds of the hospitals serving Medicare patients, or some 2,200 facilities, will be hit with penalties averaging around $125,000 per facility this coming year, according to government estimates.”…NE News Now

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)[1] imposes numerous tax hikes that transfer more than $500 billion over 10 years—and more in the future—from hardworking American families and businesses to Congress for spending on new entitlements and subsidies. In addition, higher tax rates on working and investing will discourage economic growth both now and in the future, further lowering the standard of living.”…Heritage Foundation

Admittedly, hospitals and the medical profession need to be more efficient and strive for patient friendly cost savings. However, arbitrary blanket decisions by government bureaucrats are not the solution.

From the Raleigh News Observer November 24, 2012.

“Hospitals scramble to limit readmissions, avoid new penalties”

“The patient – decked out in non-skid footies, a loose hospital gown and a breathing tube – prays she’s finally on the mend. At age 81, Juanita King had logged nearly five weeks at WakeMed Hospital since October after her breathing became so labored she had trouble walking.

The Clayton grandmother, weakened by a failing heart and obstructed lungs, wasn’t home even two weeks after the first hospital stay before returning to WakeMed earlier this month for another round of needles, meds and tests.

WakeMed, along with hospitals across the country, is scrambling to keep patients like King from coming back. Under federal penalties that kicked in Oct. 1 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, hospitals lose Medicare reimbursements if their patients are readmitted at an excessive rate.

WakeMed officials, for example, estimate that the 15 readmissions since 2010 that Medicare deemed excessive will cost the Raleigh health care company more than $400,000 in the coming year.

To ease the financial sting, hospitals increasingly are trying to manage patients’ health care after they are discharged. Hospital personnel make follow-up calls, schedule doctors’ visits and set up therapy appointments. Duke University Health System is planning to offer apps designed to send prompts and reminders for patients to take meds and report symptoms.

Hospital administrators say the pressure to reduce readmissions is forcing them to take steps that are long overdue – by coordinating with nursing homes and family caretakers to treat health problems early, before they blow up into emergencies.”

“But industry advocates warn of a potential downside: Struggling hospitals, spooked by the prospect of huge penalties, could develop an unhealthy fixation on finding ways not to readmit patients who need hospital care.

Already hospitals nationwide have seen an uptick in patients being steered to observation beds rather than getting admitted, Foster said. Hospitals in economically distressed areas with limited health care options are most likely to readmit patients and pay penalties for doing so, she said.

“It’s hard to think there will be a financial penalty against your organization to do the right thing by your patient.” Foster said. “We don’t think that hospitals that serve impoverished, safety-net communities should be penalized because those communities lack the necessary resources.”

Readmissions are only one of several factors the federal government is tracking to reduce the cost of health care. All told, within several years hospitals could face up to an 8 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements – for failing to meet new federal standards for electronic medical records and for too many infections and errors, among other quality measures, according to the American Hospital Association.

Insurance companies are likely to adopt similar measures, based on the model developed by Medicare, the nation’s federal insurance program for the elderly. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest private insurer, now offers financial rewards for hospitals that reduce readmissions. But unlike Medicare, Blue Cross doesn’t penalize hospitals for too many readmissions, said spokesman Lew Borman.

The maximum Medicare penalty this year for excessive readmissions is a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements. The fine will increase to 3 percent in 2015, which can translate to millions of dollars in lost revenue for a hospital.

The fines apply for readmitting too many patients with at least one of three conditions – heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia – within 30 days of discharge. Medicare is expected to add more diagnoses in the coming years, expanding the range of potential penalties.

A readmission can be for any cause – usually not the fault of the hospital. A pneumonia patient who leaves WakeMed, has a car wreck on the way home and is readmitted to Rex Hospital? Under Medicare, that counts as a readmission against WakeMed.

Each hospital is allotted a certain number of readmissions, based on a complex formula that factors in fluke scenarios like auto accidents, slips-and-falls and others unrelated to heart conditions or pneumonia.

Patients often go back into a hospital because they have trouble following directions for their medications. During a hospital stay and while recuperating, patients can be disoriented and confused, making it hard to keep track of multiple medications.

Heart patients, for example, are urged to adhere to a low sodium diet, but not all comply. “We had one patient who was taking their pills with pickle juice,” said Linda Butler, chief medical officer at Rex Healthcare in Raleigh.

In North Carolina, a half-dozen hospitals were levied either the maximum Medicare penalty for excessive readmissions or a penalty very close to the 1 percent max. The hospitals are in Ahoskie, Lumberton, Eden, Williamston, Hamlet and Rocky Mount, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News. Hospital officials note that areas where hospitals get hit with high penalties are typically in economically depressed areas with limited access to therapists, specialists and other resources essential for preventing hospital readmissions.”

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27 responses to “Obamacare penalties clobber NC hospitals and patients, Economically depressed areas hit hardest, Readmissions within 30 days for any reason trigger fine

  1. GOP Attorney General of Virginia Suggests President Obama Stole The Election
    Excerpts Via Anjali Sareen @ Mediaite
    (video via WMAL)


    Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, agreed with WMAL radio host Cheri Jacobus Tuesday when she insinuated that President Obama may have illegitimately won the election through lenient voting laws. […]

    […] After the interview, Noah Wall, political spokesman for Cuccinnelli, said in an email that Cuccinelli never meant to question the legality of President Barack Obama‘s campaign: ”There is no question that President Obama legitimately won re-election. Ken was simply talking about the fact that there were problems on election day which need to be addressed.”

    Why can’t they stay off the seesaw??!

  2. Yes! Thank you. I have been explaining this to many who don’t want to take off their rise colored glasses and see the truth as it is. The Liberals want to say it is Right Wing propaganda and dismiss it and not look at the facts. One if the most liberal newspapers in the state “the News and Observer” even reports on this!

    Now Perdue wants to turn the Dix property into a park! I fires so all the mentally ill homeless can sleep on the park benches because there is no place for them outside of our mental healthcare system or jails.

    Unbelievable !


  3. Thank you Deborah.

  4. Great article Muslim within http://www.commieblaster.com
    Elected officials need to read this and know the real truth

  5. OT but IMPORTANT……….
    Boeing is soon going to be on strike! That would be the ideal time to close their doors in the US,and let the strikers have a PERMANENT VACATION. Hostess has done it and there is no reason why Boeing can’t do it. Do you remember what Reagan done when 20,000 aircraft controllers went on strike. They ALL received PERMANENT VACATIONS. They thought Reagan was BULLSH#TTING. Go get em Boeing! let another 20,000 strikers walk. They think that they are in control of Boeing. Mexico would be really glad to have Boeing,as would Australia, Honduras, Burma, and without a doubt Brazil. All of these countries have a pool of skilled workers.

  6. WhistleBlower; Did you see the video? Will they post it again??

  7. Rigged. Voter Fraud. ,anyone know a lawyer???
    http://www.commieblaster.com. More articles

  8. Must Read. http://www.canadafreepress.com. Benghazi explained !!
    Wed. 28th article. WOW

  9. Mr. Bill(ms. helga)

    oldsailor80 | November 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

    Do you remember when Tom Watson,Jr – Then President of IBM- said “How in the world can an organization strike when it is against the law for it to??”The only power a union has is the power to strike. But I go one step further – How in the world can you have a Union within a Union?? ANY GOVERNMENT IS A UNION. Ie – THE UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC. Even FDR said unions in a government are unfair “when the taxpayer has no seat at the bargaining table.”and stated he wouldn’t allow it. As Casey Stengel once said – “You can look it up”

  10. Good Morning All! I loved the Glenn Beck Art piece last night. Beck put an Obama doll in a jar of urine. It’s for sale for $25,000.

  11. Good morning Zach, et al.
    Go Beck!

  12. Benghazi Explained. Must read pass on

  13. Who cares about the junk science behind this move I’m sure Obama will most graciously comply with the request for global wealth redistribution:

    Obama’s Next Move: the Global Warming Tax

    This week the United Nations begins two weeks of climate talks in Doha, Qatar. The primary goal of these meetings is to draw President Obama into accepting a redistribution plan designed extract money from the U.S. economy in the form of a global warming tax and doling out the cash to Third World nations.

    “There will be expectations from countries to hear a new voice from the United States,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute in Washington.

    The meeting in Qatar’s capital will focus on ramping up what is described as “climate financing for poor nations.” American leadership is considered crucial to these plans.

    “We need the U.S. to engage even more,” said European Union Climate Commissioner
Connie Hedegaard. “Because that can change the dynamic of the talks.”

    And carrying the water in support of this global scheme are the media, selecting their talking points from a recent World Bank report claiming global temperatures are likely to increase by more than 6 degrees, leading to “extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.”

    Given that since 1850 the earth’s temperature has only warmed 1.2 degrees (with 88 percent of that warming occurring before 1940), and that the global average temperature has not risen since 1998, a six-degree hike flies in the face scientific sanity.

    The lame duck Obama administration will likely be all over this UN plan. As a U.S. senator in 2008, Obama sponsored a bill known as the “Global Poverty Act.” The bill would have made levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

    Joe Biden, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was a vocal supporter of the legislation which would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

    A release from the Obama Senate office about the bill declared, “In 2000, the U.S. joined more than 180 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit and vowed to reduce global poverty by 2015… it is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day.”

    Obama’s bill would have required the president “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, [and] the elimination of extreme global poverty…”

    The primary vehicle for such a redistribution plan would be a tax or fee on businesses that produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct of their activities. This could include power plants, refineries, cement manufacturers, and dairy farmers. Those increased costs of production would be passed along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    A tax on carbon dioxide would also be seen by politicians as a way to offset our severe budget deficit and staggering national debt. It would be sold to the American public in the name of saving the planet.

    Obama may be another step closer to realizing his 2008 dream of massive global wealth redistribution.

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/obamas_next_move_the_global_warming_tax.html#ixzz2DWef7bxa

  14. Another asylum that the inmates are allowed to run:

    Midwest College Students Told to Disavow ‘American-ness, Maleness, Whiteness, Heterosexuality’
    Posted by Jim Hoft on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 11:50 PM
    Now they’re teaching white kids to hate themselves and their country.

    It’s an Obama world…
    A class taught at Butler University in Indianapolis asks students to disavow their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness and heterosexuality” while in class.
    The College Fix reported:

    A political science professor at Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices.

    The syllabus of the course at Butler, a small Midwestern liberal arts institution in Indianapolis, spells out that students should use “inclusive language” because it’s “a fundamental issue of social justice.”

    “Language that is truly inclusive affirms sexuality, racial and ethnic backgrounds, stages of maturity, and degrees of limiting conditions,” the syllabus states, referencing a definition created by the United Church of Christ.

    The syllabus of the class, called Political Science 201: Research and Analysis, goes on to ask students “to write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” It is taught by a black, female professor.

    In an interview with The College Fix, Jay Howard, dean of Butler’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, denied this practice essentially presumes every student who walks through the door is a racist or misogynist.


  15. Good interview with author of new book on Churchill’s predictions…esp. what he says about Nixon!

    Author says Churchill predicted the rise of group like al-Qaida

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/27/author-says-churchill-predicted-the-rise-of-group-like-al-qaida/#ixzz2DWn27tz7

  16. Texas Threatens To Lock Up Advocates Of Obama’s Unconstitutional NDAA

    Written by Texas representative Lyle Larson, the Texas Liberty Preservation Act says that “…Texas shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 within the legal boundaries of the state of Texas.”


  17. They ought to start with one of these on our “el pResidente” and his Mooch so we can begin tracking where our trillions of hard earned dollars have gone:

    RFID Tracking Devices To Be Mandatory In U.S. Food Stamp Program

    In a little while, the above scene in Revelation 13 will become a global reality. People can no longer buy or sell without the mark of the beast. And sometimes that would mean no longer being able to eat!

    The USDA is now considering biometric identification for all individuals who will want to benefit from their Food and Nutrition Services. The RFID chip may just soon be a must for everyone who does not want to starve!

    The following is an excerpt of the executive summary of the FINAL REPORT of the Use of Biometric Identification Technology to Reduce Fraud in the Food Stamp Program:


  18. The Enemy From Within!

    Does anyone know how many times Obama has himself said that he is indeed a Muslim? Obama having celebrated Ramadan in the White House these past four years is another clear clue.

    I think that it might be about time that we believe him in this rare instance and take him for his word. However this represents another problem, one that we will not ever be able to overcome. Why? Because Islam permits lying! It is called Al-taqiyya, which means dissimulation, diplomacy and deception.

    Muslims lie, not because they are natural born liars, but by choice. Systemic lying, as a religious policy, is deadly, and unfortunately none of our elected Congressional Representatives appear to understand that. more..


  19. Glenn Beck just mentioned candianfreepress article about Benghazi.

  20. observer | November 28, 2012 at 10:11 am
    The USDA is now considering biometric identification for all individuals who will want to benefit from their Food and Nutrition Services. The RFID chip may just soon be a must for everyone who does not want to starve!
    That move would drive many felons, criminals, and illegals, off of the rolls. They are not about to ID themselves. Maybe we need to chip the usurper to find out who he is.

  21. Mr.Bill………Re 8:12 AM
    Now you are talking my language! Dead on!

  22. Observer……….Re 9:12 AM

    Do you suppose that we are living in a world that has gone completely insane? It sure looks that way to me.

  23. Anybody who is so damn stupid that they would allow the Fed to put something into their body without their approval would have to be LESS than stupid. Complete and utter halfwits.

  24. oldsailor80 | November 28, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    Observer……….Re 9:12 AM

    Do you suppose that we are living in a world that has gone completely insane? It sure looks that way to me.
    Maybe there is one corner of the world that hasn’t completely lost it’s mind. I refer to…

    bob strauss | November 28, 2012 at 9:54 am |

    Texas Threatens To Lock Up Advocates Of Obama’s Unconstitutional NDAA

    Written by Texas representative Lyle Larson, the Texas Liberty Preservation Act says that “…Texas shall not provide material support or participate in any way with the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 within the legal boundaries of the state of Texas.”


    A ray of hope in in this crazy place we call America. I wish we could export the Texas hutzpa to Virginia and other states.

    I think it was Cabby who said that we are devoid of true leadership. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is no coincidence that great leaders arise on the scene when they are needed most. They are placed there by God, in His wisdom, at the very time in history when they are most necessary. I can only trust that the Lord has someone in the wings. Otherwise we’re toast. Currently, we are led by capricious “children” in government.


    Katie Pavlich
    News Editor, Townhall
    Nov 28, 2012 02:30 PM EST

    “At this point, DOJ’s non-cooperation has made Fast and Furious President Obama’s problem. Obama has said from day one he was not informed of the operation, that this was a “low-level” rogue investigation run by a few agents out of Phoenix and members of Obama’s White House national security team, including the head of Latin American relations, received emails about Fast and Furious.

    White House officals who received those emails have been made unavailable to the Oversight Committee. We know through mounds of evidence the claim Fast and Furious was a low level, rogue operation based in one ATF office is completely false.

    That being said, if it was a low level operation as Obama had claimed, his executive privilege wouldn’t apply anyway, not to mention, we know the White House had at least some involement in the scandal.

    The bottom line is this, either Obama really wasn’t briefed on Fast and Furious, despite evidence suggesting otherwise, and he abused his powers by asserting executive privilege to save his attorney general from embarrassment, or, Obama was briefed about Fast and Furious and has something to hide especially when it comes to the coverup.

    In terms of the infamous February 4, 2011 letter, this was the letter that DOJ sent to Senator Grassley denying gunwalking had ever occurred. The same letter was withdrawn 9 months later due to it’s grossly false content.”

    Continue Reading:


    * * *

    “America’s True National Debt: $87 Trillion”

    Guy Benson
    Political Editor, Townhall.com
    Nov 28, 2012 10:20 AM EST

    “This piece came out in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, but its content is too important to let it glide past without sufficient amplification. Its authors are Chris Cox (a former Congressman and SEC Chairman) and Bill Archer (the former Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee). Both were members of President Clinton’s bipartisan commission on tax and entitlement reform in 1994.

    As today’s politicians bicker over the minutiae of a deal to avert the man-made disaster known as the “fiscal cliff,” Cox and Archer warn that America is headed toward a far more dangerous precipice if our entitlement spending isn’t responsibly and seriously reined in.

    Their piece explicates why the record-setting, eye-popping annual deficit and national debt figures that most Americans have heard about — $1.1 Trillion and $16 trillion, respectively — don’t even approach capturing the magnitude of Uncle Sam’s red ink. In short, the government is relying on budgeting gimmicks and practices that would land private sector accountants in jail:”

    Continued Here: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/11/28/americas_true_national_debt_87_trillion

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