The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has recently unveiled its top 10 list of the total costs of readmissions for medical conditions. The goal of the list was to determine how much finances are being tacked on by hospital bills, as well as the percentage of Medicare patients who were responsible for readmittance costs.
All in all, these repeated medical visits accounted for $41.3 billion in hospital costs for the United States. Medicare patients accounted for 58 percent of all the costs for hospital readmission, as well as totaling up to 56 percent of repeated hospital visits as a whole. The costs of the readmittance fees stemmed mainly from doctor and nurse wages, medical supplies and utility costs, while a readmittance was defined as someone who had been hospitalized 30 days after a previous hospital admission.
Congestive heart failure was the greatest cost for all readmission fees, accounting $1.75 billion in hospital fees, while totaling up to an estimated 134,500 total readmissions. Septicemia, or severe reactions to bacteria or viruses, was the second highest cost with $1.41 billion, and Pneumonia was the only other illness to top $1 billion in expenses for repeated hospital visits. Rounding out the top five included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis, asthma related symptoms with $924 million in readmission costs and cardiac dysrhythmias or irregular heart beat at $835 million.
The readmittance rate for those on Medicare at least 65 years of age or older was projected to be at 17.2 per 100 hospital admissions, while Medicaid users under the age of 65 had a readmittance rate at around 14.6. Medicare chooses to measure readmission at a duration of 30 days because that specific duration is found to be the most likely time period that fall out or side effects from a hospital visit can occur.
Check with your Medicare plan to ensure that you will be fully protected against unforeseen costs and expenses resulting from a repeat hospital visit.