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Seven Hospitals Share Distinction Of Highest Readmission Rates

As Medicare prepares to start punishing hospitals with higher-than-average readmissions, seven hospitals have a particularly dubious distinction: higher-than-average rates for three kinds of patients.

These hospitals all had worse readmission rates than the average hospital for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients — the three categories Medicare tracks.

The hospitals were:

  • San Juan VA Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Florida Hospital in Orlando
  • Franciscan St. James Health in Olympia Fields, Ill.
  • Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston
  • Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.
  • Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in Patchogue, N.Y.

Their rates ranged between 20 percent and 31 percent of patients being readmitted within 30 days of discharge.

Another 54 hospitals had worse-than-expected rates for two of the three types of patients, and 231 hospitals had worse-than-expected readmission rates for one of the three categories.

Medicare is planning in October 2012 to start withholding reimbursements to hospitals with high readmission rates.  The penalty would start out at one percent of Medicare’s regular reimbursement rates and rise to 3 percent in a few years.

All told, the 292 hospitals with high readmissions rates represent 7 percent of the 4,626 hospitals included on Medicare’s Hospital Compare data. Medicare’s analysis is based on three years of readmission data ending in June 2010. The data show that though the number of troubled hospitals isn’t huge, the average rates of readmission nationally are significant: 19.8 percent for heart attack patients, 24.8 percent for heart failure patients and 18.4 percent for pneumonia patients.

The new Medicare data also look at mortality rates for patients with these diagnoses. Only two hospitals had mortality rates that were higher than average for all three types of patients. They were Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb and Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C. Another 38 hospitals had high mortality rates in two of the three categories: heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. And 283 hospitals had high mortality rates for one type of patients.

You can look up your local hospital’s rates on Hospital Compare by searching for the hospital’s name and then selecting the “Outcomes of Care” tab for that institution.

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