In an AHASTAT blog post today, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack responds to a recent Wall Street Journal analysis that questioned the recent reductions in hospital readmissions. “Here is what the numbers show,” Pollack writes. “Between January 2012 and November 2014, hospitals participating in the American Hospital Association Partnership for Patients initiative avoided 65,022 readmissions generating health care savings of nearly $575 million. Additionally, an analysis in a 2014 [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] peer-reviewed journal did not find evidence to suggest the drop in readmissions rates was the result of increases in either emergency department visits or observation stays as CMS stated in the article. It is no coincidence that the increase in observation services occurred with the advent of the Recovery Audit Contractors program. Too often, the medical judgment of treating physicians was second-guessed by RACs, which could evaluate a beneficiary’s admission in hindsight, looking at the entire medical record rather than only the information that was known to the physician at the time of the admission.”

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