The small town community of Westbrook, NC was in shock last week as its local hospital VP of operations, Mr. Emmett Brown ODB, BMF, MBA, announced a groundbreaking invention that proved the long standing theory of the Einstein-Rosen bridge. Using an out-of service MRI as well as the computing power of the 120-bed hospital’s EMR system, he was able to produce the intense electromagnetic field needed to punch a hole through space/time. This was in an effort so the hospital could avoid the newly enforced 30 day readmissions penalty.
“Time Travel will allow us to meet Medicare’s strict criteria. Moving patients forward in time for treatment prevents them from being readmitted within the 30 day window,” Brown said. These Federal measures were initially implemented to reduce overall cost and improve care.
However, in practice the standards are an arbitrary and unfunded mandate that penalizes hospitals because of innumerable conditions that it cannot possibly control. Until now.
“If a patient is unable to afford his medications, etc., or does not quickly recover say from an exacerbation of heart failure, typically they would require early readmission. My invention harnesses the awesome power of weak/strong inter-nuclear forces to admit this patient to a bed that is equipped and staffed to not only handle the illness, but also at the appropriate place and time along the continuum that does not cost the hospital money.”
Westbrook Regional had evaluated potential countermeasures such as improved home health care, wellness coaches, enhanced communication, and even hospital dispensing of discharge medications. Dr. Martin McFly MD, Lead Hospitalist input, “I even proposed the crazy notion of focused rounding, where the Care Coordinators worked directly with Hospitalists to assess risk and need prior to discharge.” The hospital hopes that with Time Travel, it won’t have to be bogged down by listening to clinical staff and can focus on the truly important issues.
“Time Travel was the answer for us,” replied Brown. “Involving hospital resources to address the dozens of socioeconomic factors that contribute to failure to improve following discharge seems overly complicated and expensive by comparison.” The hospital hopes that the practice of “washing their hands” of these issues once the patient leaves the door will resume because of Time Travel. “The beauty is our staff does not have to wash their actual hands! If they inoculate some patient with c. dif in July, ZAP! that’s September’s problem. We also hope to save significant money by discontinuing soap and hand sanitizer,” added Brown.
When asked whether he hopes that other hospitals around the country begin to follow Westbrook Regional’s example Brown replied, “I hope not, these metrics are moving averages. If every hospital starts using Time Travel to comply with Medicare, eventually all will be out of compliance due to the zero average. That possibility, like hospital acquired infections, is now a problem for an arbitrary later date.”