HHS Says ACA Saved $4 Billion and 15,000 Lives
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:45 AM

Hospital-acquired infections and other harms that befall inpatients dropped 9% in 2011-2012, preventing nearly 15,000 deaths and saving about $4 billion, the Obama administration announced.  In addition, hospital readmissions for Medicare patients dropped to 17.5%, in 2013.  The decline in infections, adverse drug events, falls, and other hospital-acquired conditions also avoided 560,000 patient injuries, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

"We applaud the nationwide network of hospital systems and providers that are working together to save lives and reduce costs," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. "We are seeing a simultaneous reduction in hospital readmissions and injuries, giving patients confidence that they are receiving the best possible care, and lowering their risk of having to be readmitted to the hospital after they get the care they need."

Although the announcement credits the Affordable Care Act for the lion's share of these savings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has actively pursued the same goals since 2008 when Medicare stopped paying hospitals to treat certain hospital-acquired infections. In 2011, CMS announced a similar policy for Medicaid.

CMS also pushed hospitals to decrease the number of patients they had to readmit because the patients' health grew worse after they were discharged. In August 2013, Medicare announced a second round of penalties for U.S. hospitals that did not reduce readmission rates.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/HealthPolicy/45640