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What is a readmission?

Readmission is when a patient is discharged from the hospital but must return for the same or related care within a specified time period (e.g., 30, 60, or 90 days).

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) in place to reduce avoidable readmissions. This is accomplished by encouraging hospitals to improve care coordination and communication while also better engaging patients and caregivers in discharge plans.

Since readmission rates vary by hospital and state, the hospital itself plays a role in readmission rates. This means that it is possible to reduce readmission rates by taking actionable steps to improve patient care while at the hospital and after being discharged.

How do readmissions impact healthcare?

The number of readmissions a hospital has is a quality metric that can help gauge the quality of care provided by a hospital. This is because readmissions can signify that a patient was not fully treated before discharge or that their follow-up care was not adequately organized.

Decreasing readmissions requires a hospital to focus on improving the care provided and ensuring proper communication between the patient, their caregiver, and in-patient, outpatient, home, and community settings.

Since readmissions signify a patient that is still in poor health, their reduction is crucial for improving healthcare.