Readmission rates for chronic conditions higher than for acute conditions

Readmission rates for chronic conditions including diabetes and heart failure are higher than readmission rates for acute conditions including heart attack and pneumonia, according to an ARHQ press release.

According to the article, key takeaways from the Federal agency’s analysis of readmissions in 2008 include:

  • For adults age 18 to 44 covered by Medicaid, the readmission rate following a nonsurgical hospitalization was about one-third higher for chronic conditions than for acute conditions.
  • The 30-day readmission rate was higher for a nonsurgical hospitalization (1 in 5) compared with a surgical hospitalization (1 in 8).
  • Hospitalization was about one-third higher for chronic conditions than for acute conditions.
  • The 30-day readmission rates for non-surgical hospitalizations for chronic conditions were higher than the readmission rates for acute conditions, regardless of payer or age group.
  • For children aged 1–17, the 30-day readmission rate was two times higher when the initial stay was for treating a chronic condition as opposed to an acute condition, regardless of whether or not the initial stay involved surgical treatment.
  • For privately-insured adults, ages 45 to 64 years old, the 30-day readmission rate following surgical hospitalizations was similar across chronic and acute conditions.
  • In 2008, one in eight surgical hospitalizations resulted in a readmission within 30 days across all payer and age groups.
  • In 2008, one in five non-surgical hospitalizations resulted in a readmission within 30 days across all payer and age groups.
  • The 30-day readmission rates for privately-insured adults were consistently lower than adults covered by Medicaid, regardless of age group. 

Sources: (Agency for Health Research and Quality, http://www.ahrq.gov, March 7, 2012; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, March 13, 2012)