Thirty day readmission rates have improved little between the years 2004 and 2009, and have increased for certain conditions and regions across the country, according to a Dartmouth Atlas report.
The report examined 30 day readmission data for Medicare data for patients across the country.
- There was marked regional variation for 30 day readmission rates for medical conditions, ranging from 11.5% in Ogden, Utah, to 18.9% in Pontiac Michigan.
- There was also geographical variation for surgical 30 day readmissions, ranging from 7.5% in Rapid City, S. Dakota, to 19% in the Bronx in NYC.
- Regions with high readmission rates for one condition generally had high readmission rates across all conditions.
- There was little change in readmission rates across both medical and surgical conditions from 2004 – 2009, with only 11 out of 306 regions decreasing their medical readmission rate, and 28 out of 306 regions decreasing their surgical readmission rate.
- More than half of the patients discharged in the study did not see a primary care physician within two weeks after discharge.
The study concludes that coordination of care and patient follow up are key to reducing hospital readmissions.