Re "Hospitals now must limit readmissions" (Health & Fitness, Dec. 6): As a gerontologist and caregiver, I believe Dr. Michael Wilkes' column about Medicare spending and reforms is important.
Behind his good example of costly readmissions is the question, "why is each admission costing Medicare $30,000 to $50,000?" Until that question is addressed, we have to look at limiting readmissions to reduce Medicare costs, also important.
The key to making this work is to train medical students and hospital staff to see their patients in a broader context, and for the hospital to absorb the extra cost.
"Hospitals are certainly moaning about the extra work and feel it is unfair." People are not cookie cutter patients but are individuals within a social context, one that often means medicines are unaffordable or that there is no family to help with medication.
As Dr. Wilkes says, this reform may be a step in the right direction, but only if everyone holds up their end of the bargain.
-- Martha Paterson-Cohen, Sacramento
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