For Hospitals, Health Reform Starts Today
washingtonpost.com — The start of October means, for most Americans, the onset of chilly weather and a chance to start thinking up a new Halloween costume. For budget wonks, it signifies the start of a new fiscal year. And for American hospitals, it means something quite different: October 1 is arguably the day that the health reform law changed the way they get paid for providing health care. There are two big parts of the health reform law going into effect today. One penalizes hospitals if patients are re-admitted to the hospital within one month of a visit for a condition that should have been dealt with on the first trip. The other seeks to redistribute higher Medicare payments to the hospitals that are delivering better care. Both are part of an effort to fundamentally transform the health-care system in the United States by moving it from a system that pays for value rather than volume.