Medicare 30-Day Readmissions Often for Different Diagnoses
Jan. 24 — Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who are hospitalized for heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia and who are readmitted within 30 days of discharge often are readmitted for different illnesses, according to a recent study published in JAMA.
According to the study:
- Only 22 percent of readmissions after hospitalization for pneumonia were due to recurrent pneumonia, and fewer than 40 percent were due to pulmonary disease.
- Just 35 percent of readmissions after hospitalization for heart failure were related to heart failure.
- Readmissions for patients treated for heart attack were most often due to heart failure (19.3 percent).
The study showed that a disproportionately high number of readmissions for these patients occur soon after hospitalization, with more than 60 percent of readmissions occurring in the first 15 days after discharge, although readmissions continued to occur frequently throughout the month.
“These findings imply that the entire 30-day period after discharge is one of heightened vulnerability to readmission from a wide variety of illnesses,” the authors wrote. “Programs to reduce 30-day readmissions should therefore be correspondingly broad in scope in the diagnoses they target and effective for at least the full month.”
Publication Date: Thursday, January 24, 2013