NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ajin Lee

Department of Economics
Michigan State University
486 W. Circle Drive
110 Marshall-Adams Hall
New York, NY 10027
East Lansing, MI 48824

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Michigan State University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2018Medicare Payment to Skilled Nursing Facilities: The Consequences of the Three-Day Rule
with Ginger Zhe Jin, Susan Feng Lu: w25017
Medicare does not pay for a skilled nursing facility (SNF) unless a fee-for-service patient has stayed in the hospital for at least three days. Discharges after the three-day cutoff consistently result in more transfers to SNFs. Using the three-day rule as an instrument, we find that SNF discharges decrease hospital readmission for patients with comorbidities. However, for knee and hip replacement patients, we find significant increases in readmission. This perverse effect is more severe when local SNFs have lower quality. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the three-day rule may have generated extra Medicare payments to SNFs by $100-447 million per year.
 
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