After a national report last week showed stagnant progress in hospital readmission rates, some providers questioned if the current national focus on this measurement will actually yield the better quality that policymakers expect.
For the study—After Hospitalization: A Dartmouth Atlas Report on Post-acute Care for Medicare Beneficiaries—researchers examined the records of more than 10.7 million hospital discharges for two periods: July 2003 through June 2004, and July 2008 through June 2009. The findings showed little change in U.S. 30-day readmission rates, regardless of the cause of the initial hospitalization. Surgical readmission rates were 12.7% in both 2004 and 2009, while medical readmission rates increased slightly to a rate of 16.1% in 2009, versus 15.9% in 2004. (For more on readmission rates, see p. 32.)