According to the article “Medicare patients death shortly after leaving the ER raises questions about rural hospitals” by Casey Ross, published on the StatNews website on February 1, 2017, questions regarding staff and treatment of patients in rural hospital have been raised after a study brought to light the deaths of patients beneficiaries of Medicare after being discharged. According to the study, more than 10,000 Medicare patients, who do not have life-threatening conditions, die annually around 7 days after being discharged from hospitals.

The study has also risen questions regarding rural hospitals’ adequate resources and if the Government’s intent on lowering costs has had an impact on basic and essential care. It is no secret that under the Affordable Care Act hospitals have to treat patients efficiently while having to reduce admissions which are considered unnecessary. This in turn has resulted in the discharge of patients and exploring outpatient treatment as an option. According to Dr. Rade Vukmir, fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, has stated that Medicare and private insurers’ strategies regarding admissions and discharge have had an impact on decision-making.

According to the article the study shows that there is a higher rate of unpredicted deaths in low admission hospitals than in high admission hospitals. Dr. Zaid Obermeyer, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Harvard Medical School, states that   “it doesn’t seem that the deaths are due to random chance. There is something different going on in those low-admission-rate hospitals.” Obermeyer also stated that there are several factors that may cause this problem, such as limited staffs, fewer transportation, problems with hospital protocols, and not necessarily can providers be attributed the cause.

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