Hospitals Timing Discharges to Align With Maximum Pay Out

A Wall Street Journal analysis found many long-term hospitals discharge a disproportionate share of patients during the time when hospitals stand to make the most.

Kindred Healthcare

A Inc. hospital in Houston discharged 79-year-old Ronald Beard to a nursing home after 23 days of treatment for complications of knee surgery.

The timing of his release didn’t appear to correspond with any improvement in his condition, according to family members. But it did boost how much money the hospital got.

Kindred collected $35,887.79 from the federal Medicare agency for his stay, according to a billing document, the maximum amount it could earn for treating most patients with Mr Beard’s condition.

If he had left just one day earlier, Kindred would have received only about $20,000 under Medicare rules. If he had stayed longer than the 23 days, the hospital likely wouldn’t have received any additional Medicare money.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal: http://on.wsj.com/1Bn2U6P