Approximately twenty percent of hospitalized Medicare patients return to the hospital within a month, costing the program billions of dollars each year. The American Hospital Association calls that “bounceback”.
To help reverse that trend, Medicare has been using what they call “Meaningful Use” regulations when they evaluate hospitals. Two of those criteria are, “Engage patients and families in their health care” and “Improve care coordination”. To promote those goals they require that hospitals provide patients timely electronic access to their health information ( labs, medications, records) within four business days.
Unfortunate then that the AHA today submitted a letter to Medicare saying that four days was “unfeasible” and that they required thirty days instead. The very practices that would give families the information they need to care for their sick after hospitalization would be seriously undermined by this delay. Essentially hospitals are saying they need a month to gather the information that would help you prevent another hospitalization.
Medicare is still taking comments on new “Meaningful Use” regulations and if you would like to know more or comment, go to e-patients.net for more information.