After landing on the Community Chest space while playing Monopoly, with a trembling hand you reach out to draw the auspicious little yellow card. You reluctantly turn it over to discover your fate, “CMS technical error, pay readmission penalty now increased to 0.73%!” You fall back into your chair with a groan and ask yourself, “How did I ever get into this game?” So must the leadership of many hospitals be wondering the same after the CMS recalculation of readmission penalties identified a technical error that increased one Alabama hospital penalties previously calculated at 0.62% to 0.73% of reimbursements, as cited in a recent article on FierceHealthCare.com .
The article goes on to say that “Although the calculation is a change of only two-hundreds of a percent of regular Medicare reimbursements, it means that 1,422 hospitals with high readmission rates will lose slightly more payments than they initially thought, Kaiser Health News reported. However, 55 hospitals will lose less than initially thought.” The real vexation is that apparently the readjustment came as a result of grievance expressed by physicians and others pertaining to community-specific factors that create potential disparities in readmission rates as well as lack of clarity in the rule itself. In the game of “Monopoly: The Healthcare Edition” one must wonder, what space they will find themselves on next?