Healthcare Insights

Average hospital readmission rate by state

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) run a number of programs that base reimbursement rates on hospital quality measures.

For example, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is a value-based initiative that can adjust a hospital’s reimbursement rate for doctor visits and procedures based on avoiding patient readmissions post-discharge.

The Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product tracks all cause hospital-wide readmission rates for more than 4,300 U.S. hospitals.

What is the average hospital readmission rate?

The average hospital readmission rate is 14.56%.  Readmissions rates range from 11.2% to 22.3% in the U.S. 

All cause average hospital readmission rate by U.S. state

Fig. 1 Analysis of data from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. Data originally sourced from results published by CMS. Accessed May 2024.

What state has the highest average hospital readmission rate?

Hospitals in Massachusetts have the highest average readmission rate at 15.3%. Florida, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut hospitals have average readmission rates of more than 15.0%.

What causes higher hospital readmission rates?

Analyzing additional hospital data for the states with the highest readmission rates gives some insight into possible reasons their hospitals may have higher rates.

The top five states for highest hospital readmissions – Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Rhode Island, and Connecticut – also have some of the largest hospitals in the U.S. The average bed size for hospitals in these states is 237. In comparison, the average bed size across all U.S. hospitals is 130.

Larger hospitals also have a higher number of annual discharges: 12,250 on average for the top five states and 7,074 for all hospitals. The higher patient volumes translate into higher Medicare patients as well. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, and D.C. are in the top ten for highest Medicare discharges. The older age of Medicare patients means many may have chronic conditions, co-morbidities, or post-acute care needs that increase the chances for readmission.

Additionally, hospitals treating patients with more intensive needs requiring longer lengths of stay are also associated with higher readmission rates

What state has the lowest average hospital readmission rate?

Hawaii has an average hospital readmission rate of 13.87%, the lowest of any state. Washington and Utah also have average readmission rates under 14% at 13.9%. A lower number than average of annual and Medicare discharges may be contributing factors to Hawaii’s lower readmission rate. Additionally, Hawaii has the longest life expectancy in the country, due in part to low rates of heart disease and cancer, better access to healthcare, and good air quality.

Which states have the most hospitals with high readmission rates?

Analyzing 224 hospitals with readmission rates over 16.0%, the states of Florida, California, Illinois, and New York had the most hospitals with high readmission rates.

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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.