chapter  17
12 Pages

Communication as Hospital Dirty Work: The Neglected Task of Informing Patients About DRGs Monica Hardesty and Patricia Geist

When Medicare legislation was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965, most Americans believed that the elderly would receive the care they needed regardless of cost. Inevitably, the Medicare program proved to be far more costly than anyone ever imagined, and by 1966, cost-containment efforts began to replace the original goal of equity in health-care delivery (Brown, 1984). In a political environment of cost containment a litany of devices and policies were developed to provide the states and the federal government with more power to control and reduce Medicare costs. One such device, diagnosis related groups (DRGs), was developed by Congress to curb the spiraling expenditures of hospitals, who through the financial benefits of Medicare, were encouraged to expand and modernize.