Hospitals with higher proportion of low income patients have higher readmission rates

Hospitals that treat a higher proportion of low income patients are more likely to have a higher readmissions rate, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.

For the analysis, researchers looked at Hospital Compare data for heart failure, which is the most common cause of readmissions, between July 2007 and June 2010.  The data was compared to a CMS socioeconomic index.

The study found that 11.7 percent of the hospitals treating the patients with the lowest income were ranked by Medicare as having worse readmission rates than the national average, compared to 4.3 of the rest of the hospitals.

Many hospitals that treat low income patients are coming up with ways to address the issue, including improving discharge instructions to patients.

(Sources: Kaiser Health News,, December 19, 2011; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, December 20, 2011)