Hospital readmissions ‘frequent,’ studies find

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CHICAGO – A pair of studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week explored some of the causes behind high hospital readmission rates for Medicare beneficiaries. One of the studies found that after discharge from acute care hospitals, emergency department visits within 30 days were common among adults and accounted for almost 40% of post-discharge hospital-based acute care visits. The study determined that improving care transitions should focus not only on decreasing readmissions but also on emergency department ED visits. A second study examined readmission diagnoses and timing among Medicare beneficiaries submitted within 30 days after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia. It found that readmissions were “frequent.” Among broad sample groups, readmission rates were highest for those with heart failure (24.8%). Acute myocardial infarction patients and pneumonia patients were readmitted at rates of 19.9% and 18.3%, respectively.