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Hospital Cost of Care, Quality of Care, and Readmissions

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Medicare beneficiaries admitted to U.S. hospitals with heart failure or pneumonia showed no definitive connection between the cost and quality of care, or between cost and death rates. Some experts are concerned about the tradeoffs between hospitals' efforts to lower costs and at the same time improve quality. This study shows little evidence to support the "penny-wise and pound-foolish" hypothesis: that low-cost hospitals discharge patients earlier but have higher readmission rates and greater inpatient costs downstream.

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