Rehospitalization Rates Fell In First Year Of Medicare Penalties

KHN: DECEMBER 9TH, 2013

During the first eight months of this year, fewer than 18 percent of Medicare patients ended up back in the hospital within a month of discharge, the lowest rate in years, the government reported Friday. This drop occurred during the first year that Medicare financially penalized hospitals for their readmission rates, and the government seized on the decrease as evidence the incentives are having an effect.

The government is targeting rehospitalizations as a significant indicator of gaps in medical quality in the nation’s hospitals. While some elderly patients inevitably return to the hospital, the government and some researchers believe many of those returns are avoidable if hospitals monitor patients after their release to ensure they get appropriate medications and follow-up visits with doctors. Read More