Medicare Data Reveals 364 Hospitals With Higher Than Average Readmission Rates
Kaiser Health News has highlighted a disturbing trend in its latest report on Medicare patient readmissions. The article uses fresh data from Medicare that tracks hospital readmissions to conclude that country-wide, 8% of hospitals have a higher rate of readmissions than the national average. This means that 364 hospitals that were tracked by Medicare had to check-in Medicare patients with in a month of their first visit to the hospital. These unplanned readmissions seem to be prevalent in certain states which should be a cause for concern. The KHN report shows that 20% of hospitals operating in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have readmission rates above the national mean.
It’s not all bad news though and some states have a large number of hospitals that have readmission rates significantly below the national average. 13 to 16 percent of hospitals in Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington have kept their numbers lower than this year’s average.
The report was derived from a more transparent reporting and tracking system implemented by Medicare in 2008 when it began keeping an eye on readmission rates of patients being treated for three types of conditions. This soon expanded to all ailments and Medicare started making the readmission rates public in a bid to offer more transparency and accountability on the part of hospitals. This tracking process became the first step in the government’s move to improve health care for Medicare recipients. Once a reporting and tracking system was in place, the governments started penalizing hospitals for unacceptable readmissions rates in 2013 through the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.