Hospitals Fall Short In Efforts To Curb Readmissions
A Dartmouth Atlas report that studied Medicare beneficiaries concluded that hospital readmission rates are largely static. Facilities will face financial penalities next year if they do not improve their statistics.
Modern Healthcare: Readmission Rates Largely Static, Dartmouth Report Finds; Regional Differences Noted
Care coordination for Medicare patients discharged from hospitals has not progressed much in the past five years, according to a new report from the Dartmouth Atlas Project. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers examined the records of 10.7 million hospital discharges representing 100 percent of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with full Part A and B coverage during two study periods (July 2003-June 2004 and July 2008-June 2009). Their analysis showed little change in U.S. 30-day re-admission rates, regardless of the cause of the initial hospitalization. Surgical 30-day readmission rates were 12.7 percent in 2004 and 2009, while medical 30-day readmission rates were 16.1 percent in 2009, up slightly from 15.9% in 2004 (Zigmond, 9/28).
Reuters: US Hospitals Face Challenge To Reduce Readmissions
About one in six Medicare patients is readmitted to the hospital within a month of being discharged, indicating room for improvement before financial penalties for high readmission rates kick in next year, a large study found. Medicare plans to reduce payments to hospitals with excessive readmissions by 1 percent beginning in October 2012 as part of President Obama's healthcare reform. The penalty rises to 3 percent in fiscal 2015 (Kelly, 9/28).
National Journal: Hospitals Flunk Readmission Test
Hospitals are about to get punished for so-called readmissions – when patients end up right back in the hospital after being discharged. Yet they’ve done very little to improve, researchers reported on Wednesday. Hospital readmissions are considered an important measure of quality care. Health experts say it's important to hold hospitals accountable for how well patients fare after they are discharged. The 2010 health care law hopes to force hospitals to take better care of patients and make sure someone keeps an eye on them after they are treated for a serious illness or have surgery. Dr. David Goodman of the Dartmouth Atlas Project says his most recent data shows little or no improvement (Fox, 9/27).
Bloomberg: Hospitals Risk Revenue Cuts As They Fail To Reduce Readmissions
U.S. hospitals risk cuts in Medicare payments next year after failing to reduce avoidable readmissions, a Dartmouth Atlas Project study showed. The report tracked 10.7 million discharges at 1,925 hospitals from 2004 to 2009 and found that readmissions of elderly patients within 30 days of a hospital stay have remained the same or increased. Earlier work by the Lebanon, New Hampshire-based research group influenced strategies in President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care overhaul. Avoidable readmissions cost Medicare, the federal health plan for the elderly and disabled, at least $17 billion annually, according to U.S. estimates quoted by the Dartmouth group (Wechsler, 9/28).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Cutting Hospital Readmissions: Revolving Doors Still Spinning, Study Finds
As Medicare figures out how to financially penalize hospitals with high readmission rates, a new Dartmouth Atlas study finds hospitals have made very little progress in ensuring that fewer patients return. One possible reason raised by the study: fewer than half of patients had a follow-up appointment with a doctor within two weeks of discharge (Rau, 9/28).