For the first time, CMS is posting hospital readmission rates for Medicare patients. President Obama and members of Congress have cited high numbers of hospital readmissions as a main driver of soaring health care costs, as well as being bad for patients. Now, consumers can find out which hospitals have the highest -- and lowest -- readmission rates for three common conditions, heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.
The rates are based Medicare billing records from July 2005 to June 2008 and are posted on the CMS HospitalCompare website. The data show how often patients with each of these conditions return to the same or a different hospital within 30 days of discharge, and how each hospital’s readmission rates compare to the average rates for the state and nation. Hospitals can use the data to investigate factors that may contribute to hospital readmissions, such as a lack of primary and hospice care or transportation challenges for patients getting to follow-up appointments.