More than one-third of hospital patients in California were readmitted within a year, according to newly released data from 2005.
Study examines Calif. hospital readmissions
Out of 1.7 million patients hospitalized in the state in 2005, 36% had at least one readmission over the following 365 days, according to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, which analyzed hospital discharge data.
About one in 10 of those re-hospitalized returned within a week; one-third returned within a month, according to the state agency. The highest readmission rates were for patients initially admitted for psychiatric care, followed by heart failure, adult pneumonia and joint replacements. Among patients with at least one readmission, 93% were initially admitted for acute general care. Los Angeles had the highest average number of readmissions.
Readmissions are costly. They added $31 billion to charges billed to Medicare in 2005, accounting for half of all charges for hospital services. Readmissions cost the state $10 billion in Medicaid dollars, accounting for 49% of the Medicaid total. And they cost private insurers $11 billion, or 36% of all charges, according the agency.
“Readmissions are an important issue because they are expensive, can involve additional difficulties for patients and caregivers, and often can be preventable,” David Carlisle, director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, said in a statement. “Our hope is that this data can spur discussion on lowering rates of readmissions to effect change in direct patient care, discharge planning and case management.”
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