Findings from a new study on patient characteristics and differences in hospital readmission rates suggest patient characteristics not included in Medicare’s current risk-adjustment methods explained much of the difference in readmission risk between patients admitted to hospitals with higher vs lower readmission rates. Hospitals with high readmission rates may be penalized to a large extent based on the patients they serve. The study, published in JAMA, sought to assess the extent to which a comprehensive set of patient characteristics accounts for differences in hospital readmission rates. Medicare penalizes hospitals with higher than expected readmission rates by up to 3% of annual inpatient payments. Expected rates are adjusted only for patients’ age, sex, discharge diagnosis, and recent diagnoses.
Study Finds Patient Characteristics Explain Differences in Hospital Readmission Rates
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