Readmission rates may have fallen further than CMS estimates

Readmission rates for heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia have fallen more than the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services previously reported, according to Kaiser Health News. 

According to the article, CMS recently examined hospital readmission rates and found only a 0.2 percent decrease in hospital readmissions for the years 2009 – 2011.  The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC,) analyzed the same data from Hospital Compare for the same time using a different method of measuring readmissions that counts only those patients who return to a hospital for problems that are clinically related to the initial hospitalization. 

The MedPAC analysis found that readmissions fell 0.7 percent between 2009 and 2011, from 13.0 percent of Medicare patients to 12.3 percent, which is steeper than the .2 percent that CMS reported. 

(Sources: Kaiser Health News, http://capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org/, September 14, 2012; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, September 17, 2012)