A really shocking statistic about readmissions from skilled nursing to hospitals.

In the readmission prevention world everyone is focused on  preventing readmissions during the first 30 days after discharge from the hospital because that is the penalty zone, but in reading a just released study by  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  I was surprised to see that readmission rate for the first 90 days is an astonishing 37.5%.

The Hospital Problem

To get a picture of why this is so big a problem and what a poor job hospitals are doing in reducing readmissions, take a look at this chart published by Kaiser Health News. It shows hospital readmission data in year two of the penalty phase with 66% of hospitals giving up significant dollars in readmission penalties.

The Details

The study included more than 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries in North and South Carolina.  Here are some of the key findings:

  • 22% of the beneficiaries required emergency care within 30 days of discharge and 37.5% required acute care within 90 days.
  • Men and African Americans were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital.
  • Other factors contributing to the high numbers included individuals with cancer or respiratory disease, high numbers of previous hospitalizations, comorbid conditions and receiving care from a for-profit facility.

The study did not attempt to look at what percentage of these readmissions could have been prevented. Steve Moran

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