Big changes are coming to the way healthcare providers take care of you! Beginning October 1, Medicare will penalize hospitals if patients are readmitted for the same problem within 30 days of their discharge. This new rule specifically applies to patients admitted for COPD, congestive heart failure (CHF), and myocardial infarction (MI), and is already in effect for pneumonia.
Dedicated Respiratory Therapists have always had patients’ best interests at heart. Hospitals, however, are paid to take care of sick people, and sick people have rarely been taught how to get healthy and stay that way.
Finally, hospitals must take responsibility for their patients’ health at the time they leave the hospital. Hospitals must show an interest in the full recovery of their patients, and help them learn to stay healthy. This forces most hospitals to change their focus on patient care, so how are they responding to the new ruling?
If you are hospitalized with COPD, CHF, MI, or pneumonia, expect a new effort to educate you. You will receive several visits from respiratory therapists who want to teach you how to stay out of the hospital. Imagine that! You will discover the proper use of your medications and medical equipment, proper breathing techniques, and how to avoid becoming short of breath. You will learn when to seek medical attention, and other very important topics.
Once you leave the hospital, expect phone calls from case managers who are concerned about your ongoing recovery. If you have any problems or questions about your condition, let them help you!
All of these efforts require your active participation. Ultimately, the choice is yours to do everything possible to get well. Expect healthcare professionals to support your efforts to stay out of the hospital. It is high time we did.