The 1.7 million Medicare beneficiaries who resided in long-term care facilities during 2006 cost the program $25 billion, with nearly 40% of that cost going toward hospitalization expenses, according to three new reports released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“The findings suggest policymakers looking to trim Medicare expenditures in accordance with the new federal health care law may want to take a closer look at developing a more coordinated system of care for this narrow subset of the Medicare population,” Kaiser Health News reported.
By cutting the number of hospital stays of beneficiaries in long-term care by 25%, Medicare would save at least $2.1 billion this year alone, according to the reports. Savings to Medicaid would most likely result as well.
Among the reports’ explanations for unnecessary hospitalization occurrences in this subset of beneficiaries, a deficiency in qualified staff and physicians who prefer inpatient treatment due to convenience are blamed.
Briefing Examines High Medicare Spending for Beneficiaries in Long-Term Care (downloadable reports)