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Study estimates 1 in 5 Medicare patients re-hospitalized within 30 days

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AHA News writes: A study in the April 2 New England Journal of Medicine estimates that Medicare payments for unplanned re-hospitalizations totaled $17.4 billion in 2004. Based on Medicare billing data for fiscal year 2003-2004, the authors estimate that one in five Medicare patients were re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge, with only about 10% of these re-hospitalizations planned. The most frequent reasons for re-hospitalization were heart failure (8.6%), pneumonia (7.3%), psychoses (4.3%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (3.9%). Half of patients re-hospitalized within 30 days did not visit a physician after discharge to the community.

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