The integration incentive

Via Robert Pear in today’s NY Times:

Hospitals could be held accountable not only for the cost of the care they provide, but also for the cost of services performed by doctors and other health care providers in the 90 days after a Medicare patient leaves the hospital.

This plan has drawn fire from hospitals, which say they have little control over services provided after a patient’s discharge — and, in many cases, do not even know about them.

Well, there’s a way to gain more control over what happens to a patient after discharge: integrate with other providers. It’s not a bad idea from the standpoint of quality and for Medicare. But there’s an obvious issue from the perspective of commercial insurers and their customers. More about it later in the week, hopefully at Klein’s place (and if not there, then here).

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