From Health Leaders Media:
The American Hospital Association is pushing for hospitals to start collecting lots of demographic data on patients, including race, income, access to insurance, and other background measures that include education and even access to grocery stores with organic food.
Why? Hospitals believe the gathering of such data will help explain why some hospitals experience more frequent cases of readmissions. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is now penalizing hospitals for readmissions as a sign of poor patient care. Hospitals lose a percentage of their fee from CMS for high readmission numbers.
How are Minnsota hospitals doing with readmissions and penalties? Go here: Re-admissions prove costly for Minnesota, US hospitals
Hospitals would then ask CMS to re-score hospitals on quality care based on the demographic data of their patients. If a hospital, such as a “safety net” facility, scores high in readmissions, the demographic data could be used to explain the lack of quality patient care rather than poor care by the hospital itself.
The advocacy group for safety net hospitals calls it a “more accurate picture of performance,” but the picture could color the real image of the quality of patient care in local hospitals. The group admits gathering this type of data would be a “complex undertaking” for everyone involved.