Understanding the Healthcare Readmission Rate October 13 2015

What is Healthcare Readmissions?

"Hospital readmissions are defined as multiple inpatient stays within a specified time period by the same patient." (1) Reducing the number of readmissions can help with improving patient quality of life and reducing associated costs. According to Medicaid Services up to 75% of hospitals re-admissions are potentially preventable.(2) Since the implementation of Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reductions Program hospitals can lose up to 3% of their Medicare payments. The plenty is determined by the readmission rate of the patients, who initially went to the hospital for one of five conditions,

  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Attach
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic Lung (Emphysema and Bronchitis)
  • Elective hip and knee replacements

and returned to the hospital within 30 day period.(5)

Why Improve Healthcare Re-admission?

Causes of readmissions can vary and can indicated poor quality coordinate care, premature discharges, or the patient did not receive adequate information. Hospitals face the challenge of building and finding the right strategy to improve readmissions.  

However, by reducing healthcare readmission it not only benefits the patient, but to the hospital as well. With a decrease in re-admissions the hospital could save a lot of money per year.

“A recent study of Medicare patients found that one in five admissions results in a bounce back within 30 days of discharge, costing the federal government an estimated $17.4 billion per year.”(3)

In the future hospitals could start to look at home healthcare and how it will play an important role in providing patient quality of life, maintaining patient’s independence, and ensure quality follow up. For example, a patient who just had surgery, who has some care at home would be less likely to return to the hospital shortly after being sent home. Patients who have home healthcare will also receive better follow up care; have an increase in communication with provider, and a decrease in medication errors.

Assistive devices could also help with reducing readmissions instead of patients re-injuring themselves they would be given a tool to help them with recovery and could potential heal faster after undergoing surgery. 





  1. https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/methods/2012_04.pdf
  2. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/126/4/501.full 
  3. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2013/02/the-revolving-door--a-report-on-u-s--hospital-readmissions.html
  4. http://www.hsi.gatech.edu/rebo/images/4/41/Pramit_paper.pdf
  5. https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2014/04/22/most-common-readmissions
  6. http://khn.org/news/a-guide-to-medicare-readmissions-penalties-and-data/