American Hospital Association
Health Research & Educational Trust

Readmissions

Importance: A readmission is a return hospitalization after discharge and most often measured within 30 days of initial hospital stay. Readmissions are common, expensive and frequently preventable. Nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients who are discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 20 days (Jencks, Williams & Coleman, 2009). The conditions with the most Medicare readmissions in 2011 were: congestive heart failure, non-hypertensive; septicemia; pneumonia; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis; and cardiac dysrhythmias (Hines et al., 2014). A growing body of evidence suggests that unplanned readmissions are associated with lower quality of care (Benbassat & Taragin, 2008). Unplanned readmissions are frequently the result of ineffective discharge processes including discharge planning, medication reconciliation, failed handoffs and insufficient patient education (Kripalani et al., 2007; Forster et al., 2005; Forster et al., 2003).

In addition to concerns regarding quality, readmissions are also very costly to the health care system and to patients. In 2011, 3.3 million adult readmissions occurred in the United States with an associated hospital cost of $41.3 billion (Hines et al., 2014). In 2012, CMS implemented the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program which penalizes hospitals for readmissions. Under the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, 2,610 hospitals were fined in 2014 (Rau, 2014). In 2015, the maximum penalty for inpatient hospital payments is 3 percent, a significant incentive for hospitals to reduce unplanned readmissions.

Accomplishments: From 2011 to 2014, the AHA/HRET HEN prevented an estimated 65,022 readmissions with an estimated cost savings of over $572 million. From September 2015 to September 2016, the AHA/HRET HEN 2.0 prevented an estimated 8,040 readmissions with an estimated cost savings of over $124 million.

PfP Goal: By September 23, 2016, each participating HIIN hospital reduces unavoidable readmissions by at least 12 percent.

 

Download the Readmissions Change Package

Download the Readmissions Checklist

Watch Past Readmissions Events

Access Additional Readmissions Resources

Download the Readmissions Change Package Download the Readmissions Checklist Watch Past Readmissions Events Access Additional Readmissions Resources

 

To achieve this goal, we encourage you to use the resources available through this website to support your readmissions improvement efforts. You should find the readmissions outcome measure and improvement strategies customized to your role in the hospital below.

Outcome Measure

Outcome measures provide a common language helping to assess the quality of care in hospitals. Below are the HRET HIIN readmissions outcome measures.

  • Readmission within 30 days (all cause)
  • Hospital-Wide All-Cause Unplanned Readmissions

More information about these measures can be found in the HIIN Encyclopedia of Measures.