Medicare Data Shows Little Change in Hospital Readmissions

New Medicare data released yesterday shows that despite concerted efforts in recent years to reduce hospital readmissions, the rate remains nearly unchanged (Source: “Hospitals’ Readmissions Rates Not Budging,” Kaiser Health News, July 20, 2012).

The Medicare data was released Thursday though the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Hospital Compare website. The data from July 2008 through the end of June 2011 shows that the percentage of heart attack patients readmitted after 30 days of discharge and the percentage of health failure patients who were readmitted dropped just 0.1 percent over three years and the 30-day readmission rate for pneumonia patients increased by 0.1 percent.

However, officials from the American Hospital Association contend that the overall numbers are not better because they include 2008 and 2009, when fewer efforts were in place to reduce readmissions. According to the AHA, data from 2011 shows more significant drops in rehospitalizations. “We are seeing precipitous drops in admissions for all three of these conditions, and we suspect it is because the patients who are relatively well are being better managed in the ambulatory setting,” said Nancy Foster of the AHA.

Eighteen Ohio hospitals, through the Ohio Hospital Association, joined the State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR) initiative in September, 2010, to address the issue. Of all Dayton MSA hospitals, only Good Samaritan was part of the initiative.

Source: Ohio Health Policy Review, July 20, 2012.

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