Beyond Ebola—How Safe Is Your Hospital?

The media frenzy over Ebola has focused a glaring spotlight on hospitals across the country this fall. One man has died from the virus in the United States, and a handful of nurses have been infected. And even though the chance of a large-scale U.S. outbreak is tiny, nearly 36 percent of Americans said they are worried that a family member will contract Ebola, according to today’s Washington Post-ABC News poll. Maybe instead of Ebola, though, what we should be concerned about are …

What Put the Brakes on Medicare Spending?

The Holy Grail in battles over the federal budget has been how to slow down the runaway train of health care spending. So it surely comes as good news that spending on traditional Medicare has slowed substantially, as a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study shows, and not just because of the broader economic slowdown. For 25 years, spending on traditional Medicare rose, on average, 8 percent a year. Then, from 2007 to 2012, the increase slowed to an average annual …

Find Out Whether Your Hospital Has Too Many Readmissions

Is your hospital’s revolving door turning too quickly? Each year, more than a million Americans wind up back in the hospital within 30 days after leaving for reasons that could have been prevented. That includes one in five Medicare hospital patients. Medicare has begun penalizing hospitals with high readmission rates for patients being treated for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia – new categories will be added in the future – and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) …

Facing Penalties, Hospitals Aim to Lower Readmissions

By Jordan Rau, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News This story was produced in collaboration with The New York Times In the past, the only thing a patient was sure to get after a hospital stay was a bill. But as Medicare cracks down on high readmission rates, hospitals are dispatching nurses, transportation, culturally specific diet tips, free medications and even bathroom scales to patients deemed at risk of relapsing. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., has nurses …

“Genius Grant” for Geriatrician Who Helped Cut Hospital Readmissions

A geriatrician known for his work reducing hospital readmissions, Eric Coleman is among the 23 men and women revealed yesterday as recipients of the 2012 MacArthur fellowships. Nicknamed the MacArthur “genius grants,” these fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation come with an award of $100,000 per year for five years, no strings attached.

The Takeaway: Too Many Stent Patients End Up Back In Hospital; Nutritional Needs Change With Age

One in six patients who has a stent inserted to open up blocked arteries ends up back in the hospital within a month of the procedure, according to a new study. And a dietitian explains why failing to adjust your eating habits as you age can be risky.