Hospitals are increasingly keeping Medicare patients for observation instead of admitting them, according to a study, which also says that the trend picked up after there was pressure to reduce Medicare costs. When, in a hospital, a patient is kept for observation rather than being admitted, s/he has to pay a larger portion of the charges.
The study was conducted by a research team from the Brown University. "The dual trends of increasing hospital observation services and declining inpatient admissions suggest that hospitals and physicians may be substituting observation services for inpatient admissions -- perhaps to avoid unfavorable Medicare audits targeting hospital admissions," Zhanlian Feng, the study's first author and assistant professor of health services, policy and practice at the Brown University, said, as reported by Yahoo News.
The study involved analyses of the records of 29 million Medicare patients of 65 years of age and older and was conducted in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Over the period of the study, the number of patients kept for observation rose to 34 percent.
This trend of hospitals results in higher costs for patients. The beneficiaries are retired people who usually have limited income and resources. For them, the rise in medical costs is a big problem.
Groups working for the rights of the beneficiaries are opposing this practice. They are demanding a proper treatment package for the patients.
The economic crisis has caused problems for the government in providing basic facilities to the people. Therefore methods to cut costs were needed in almost every sector. The period of economic problems has prolonged since the recession, for which the current administration is being criticized a lot. The lack of facilities will further annoy the people who are already under pressure. Health facilities are one of the most important needs and any issue in their provision is going to cause a strong response from the citizens of the country.