Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Affordable Care Act’s Provisions to Reduce Preventable Medicare Patient Hospital Readmissions are a Continued Success

The Affordable Care Act put several programs into place to curb Medicare beneficiaries readmission rates. The readmission rate, a measurement of how many patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of initial discharge, is viewed as an indicator of the quality of care a hospital provides. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the average avoidable readmission rate for Medicare beneficiaries under 18% from January - August 2013. This is less than the 19% readmission rate that was the standard for the previous five years.  A 2012 study found that readmission rates were on a decline in 2012. The 2013 preliminary claims data combined with the 2012 data results in an estimated 130,000 fewer hospital readmissions from 2012-2013.

CMS attributes the decline in readmission rates to the improved care programs such as community-based care transition plans and payment incentives such as the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program helped foster. 

More information on the CMS blog is available here. The study that determined Medicare readmission rates had a meaningful decline is available here. Information on the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program is available here

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