American Discharge

Heart attack patients from the United States were 68 percent more likely to be readmitted within one month of their discharge than patients in 16 other countries.  More evidence that we have a bad healthcare system, right?  Not exactly.   The study in JAMA also showed that U.S.-based patients were more likely to have shorter hospital stays.  What does this mean?   Our goal (which is really the insurance company’s goal) of hurrying up and discharging heart attack patients as early as possible is correlated with a higher chance of them coming back again.  Talk about common sense. Doctors and patients are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, here.   They have intense pressure from the insurance companies to get the patient out of the hospital as quickly as possible (or they won’t pay for those extra days) but then are penalized for a higher readmission rate if they come back (bogus quality score stuff).   Though this is kind of an obvious study it is a good one because it indirectly shows the insanity of our healthcare system that has too many outside interests determining the care of a patient.   How about this?  How about letting the symptoms, progress, health and situation of the individual patient determine the care of the patient and screw the quality scores and insurance companies?


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