Under the provisions of the current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), hospitals are being incentivized to reduce 30-day readmission rates. If a hospital is found by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fall into the lowest quartile for high 30-day readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure (CHF) or pneumonia, it will be penalized up to one percent of its Medicare payments.
However, in an article by Kim Carollo on the Cardiovascular Business web site, Ms. Corollo cites a research letter published online on Oct 21, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine stating that many hospitals have not taken the recommended steps to reduce their readmission rates.
To compound the matter, the PPACA program includes provisions to increase penalties to 2 percent in 2014 and to raise them to 3 percent in 2015. It is also likely that this PPACA program may be expanded in 2015 to include penalties for excessive coronary bypass surgery, percutaneous coronary interventions and vascular procedures which could put these hospitals in greater jeopardy of even more penalties.
Based upon scientific evidence published in peer reviewed clinical journals Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP®) Therapy has demonstrated to significantly reduce re-hospitalizations and emergency room visits in Congestive Heart Failure patients. One can only hope that hospitals with EECP Therapy promote their programs and those that have not yet added the Therapy to the services they offer should seriously consider how much this treatment can do for them, their staff and most importantly, their patients.