Medicare

1:37am

Wed October 3, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Dings Hospitals For Too Many Repeat Customers

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 8:14 am

Denver Health has a network of clinics to keep track of patients discharged from its hospital.
Denver Health

A paradox of American health care is that hospitals are sometimes rewarded for doing things badly.

Patients who are discharged, for example, shouldn't have to come right back because they got worse after getting home. But if they do come back, hospitals benefit because they can fill an empty bed and bill for more care.

The federal government says, in fact, that Medicare alone pays $17.4 billion a year for unnecessary return visits.

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11:11am

Mon October 1, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Rolls Out Carrots And Sticks For Hospital Quality

Medicare to hospitals: Take your pick of carrot or stick.
iStockphoto.com

Starting today, America's hospitals will find that their checks from Medicare are a little bit lighter.

As part of the government's biggest effort yet at paying for performance, Medicare is withholding 1 percent of its regular hospital payments and putting that money into a fund to reward hospitals that score well on 20 different quality measures.

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10:40am

Wed September 26, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Knee Replacements Are All The Rage With The Medicare Set

Ouch!
Ken Tannenbaum iStockphoto.com

Spend a little time where seniors hang out and there's a good chance you'll hear about somebody getting a new knee — maybe two.

Some figures pulled from Medicare data analyzed in the latest JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, help explain why.

There are about 600,000 knee replacements a year now, at a cost of around $15,000 a piece. All told, the tab for all that orthopedic work is about $9 billion a year, the JAMA study says.

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3:11pm

Fri September 21, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama, Ryan AARP Appearances Show Politics' Third Rail Is Still Charged

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 3:59 pm

President Obama spoke to AARP members via live video feed.
AARP livestream

Separate appearances Friday by President Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan before an AARP meeting in New Orleans proved that the third rail of American politics, Medicare and Social Security collectively, is still very much electrified.

Speaking to a supremely friendly audience via live video feed from Virginia, where he was campaigning, Obama drew repeated applause and cheers with promises to defend Medicare and Social Security from Republican proposals that he said threaten the entitlement programs' ability to deliver the kind of benefits seniors have become accustomed to.

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10:20am

Tue September 11, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

More Vaccines Come Without Copays, Unless You're On Medicare

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 11:31 am

Got Medicare? That vaccination could cost you.
Pamela Moore iStockphoto.com

The health care overhaul law makes it easier for most people with private insurance to get the vaccines they need without going into their pockets for a copay. Medicare beneficiaries don't get the quite same sweet deal, though.

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