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ACS 2013: Examining Hospital Readmission Rate Data

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The Particulars: Medicare reduces compensation rates for hospitals with high readmission rates. However, many hospitals can only track same-hospital readmissions. It has not been established if same-hospital readmission rates correlate with all-hospital readmission rates.

Data Breakdown: Study investigators evaluated 30-day same-hospital and all-hospital readmission rates for patients who underwent one of three common surgeries. When institutions in the worst performing quintile of same-hospital readmissions were evaluated based on all-hospital readmission, 95% were reclassified. When hospitals ranked in the top quintile of same-hospital readmissions were evaluated based on all-hospital readmission, 62% were reclassified, with 11% moving to a ranking in the worst quintile.

Take Home Pearls: Same-hospital readmission rates appear to be an unreliable predictor of all-hospital readmission rates. Novel approaches to accurately track postoperative readmissions in real-time are necessary to prevent further payment penalties from Medicare.

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