Medicare Data Shows 1 in 4 Readmissions Could be Avoided

Hot on the heels of the October 1st assessment of penalties for 2211 hospitals with excessively high readmission rates for patients with heart failure, pneumonia and myocardial infarction, MedPAC released information on Friday that points the finger again at avoidable readmissions.

Medicare claims data from 2006 to 2008 was collected by 3M Health Information Systems and analyzed with findings that show that one-quarter of hospital readmissions could be prevented with improved post-discharge care.  The leading cause of avoidable admissions is heart failure, with repeated admissions dramatically increasing the cost of care and reducing the quality of life for patients.

In the time frame of 2009-2011 readmission rates are down just 0.7% leaving significant room for improvement. As hospital fines for excessive readmissions averaged $125,000 per institution, this certainly points to a high profile role for caregivers in LTC and rehab as well as home care providers. Hospitals seeking to mitigate the risk of future fines will be looking to post-acute caregivers to coordinate care, improve outcomes and reduce readmissions.

11. October 2012 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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