Hospital swing-bed care in the United States. (1/3)

As a result of federal legislation implemented in 1982, hospital beds that are used to provide both long-term care and acute care are now proliferating rapidly throughout the country. Termed swing beds, such beds are currently restricted to rural areas. However, due largely to the impacts of Medicare DRG reimbursement, pressure is mounting to expand the swing-bed approach to urban settings. Swing beds appear to fill a significant gap between the relatively intense medical needs of post-acute care patients (now discharged earlier) and the capacity of our current nursing home delivery system to meet such needs. The evolution of swing beds is marked by an unusual blend of experimentation, scientific investigation, and public policy response to community and personal health care needs. This article summarizes that evolution, highlighting research findings and key policy developments. It concludes with the current status of the national swing-bed program and issues pertinent to future directions.  (+info)

Evaluation of the impact of Medicare and Medicaid prospective payment on utilization of Philadelphia area hospitals. (2/3)

The article evaluates the impact of Medicare and Medicaid DRG prospective payment on utilization in Philadelphia area hospitals. These hospitals began a combined Medicare-Medicaid DRG prospective payment at the same time after a common cost-based reimbursement history. Particular attention is paid to the hospital-driven as opposed to physician-driven explanations of declining inpatient utilization. The evaluation of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) and Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) interventions uses an ARIMA model that removes both seasonal and autoregressive effects. Both TEFRA and the DRG payment system produced significant reductions in average length of stay, total hospital days, and hospital occupancy rates. Neither, however, had a significant effect on admissions. Hospitals with a higher proportion of Medicare and Medicaid discharges reduced their average length of stay more than other facilities. Hospitals with a higher proportion of outpatient visits to inpatient admissions also reduced inpatient length of stay more. Hospitals with higher than expected overall admissions after the introduction of the DRG program tended to have lower than expected average lengths of stay. The results lend support to the "hospital-driven" interpretation of declines in average length of stay. They fail to support the contention that the DRG system will produce automatic counteracting increases in admissions in the system as a whole.  (+info)

The effect of Medicare's payment system for rehabilitation hospitals on length of stay, charges, and total payments. (3/3)

BACKGROUND: Medicare's system for the payment of rehabilitation hospitals is based on limits derived from a hospital's average allowable charges per patient discharged during a base year. Thereafter, payments are capped but hospitals receive incentive payments if charges per patient are reduced in succeeding years. We hypothesized that per-patient charges would increase during the base year and then decrease in subsequent years. Hospitals would thus have higher reimbursement limits and receive incentive payments for reducing their charges. METHODS: We analyzed Medicare claims data for 190,921 discharges from 69 rehabilitation hospitals from 1987 through 1994. We compared total charges, length of stay, and interim payments before, during, and after each hospital's base year. RESULTS: After we controlled for inflation and temporal and seasonal trends, mean charges per patient discharged increased from $25,131 for patients discharged before the base year to $32,167 for patients discharged in the base year (a 28 percent increase, P<0.001) and the mean length of stay increased from 22.1 to 26.7 days (a 21 percent increase, P<0.001). After the base year, mean charges decreased to $29,307 (a 9 percent decrease) and the mean length of stay decreased to 24.0 days (a 10 percent decrease) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Analysis of data on patients according to diagnosis -- for example, spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, amputations and deformities, hip fracture, and arthritis and joint disorders -- showed similar findings for each, with increases in charges and length of stay in the base year, followed by smaller reductions thereafter. For-profit hospitals had greater increases than nonprofit hospitals in their per-patient charges (mean increase, $7,434 vs. $2,929; P<0.001) and length of stay (mean increase, 4.6 vs. 2.3 days, P<0.001) during the base year. CONCLUSIONS: Although Medicare's reimbursement system for rehabilitation hospitals put an upper limit on total payments, its design was associated with substantial extra costs, including significantly increased payments to hospitals and doctors and increased numbers of hospital days for the average patient.  (+info)