Healthcare Insights

Critical access hospitals with the highest readmission rates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) in 2012. The goal of this program is to reduce 30-day readmissions for the following six conditions:

This value-based care reimbursement program is designed to improve care coordination and link payment to the quality of care the hospital provides to patients. Providing the highest level of care and reducing complications are goals of all hospitals.

Critical access hospitals (CAHs), which provide essential care to rural populations that might not otherwise have healthcare access, are exempt from high readmission rate reimbursement penalties but still report readmission rates to CMS and track rates as a measure of hospital performance.

We reviewed the all-cause readmission rates for 910 CAHs tracked in the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. Here are the top 25 critical access hospitals by all-cause hospital-wide readmission rate.

Top 25 CAHs by all-cause hospital-wide readmission rate

RankDefinitive IDHospital nameLocationNumber of staffed bedsNumber of dischargesAll cause hospital-wide readmission rateExplore dataset
14467St Joseph's HospitalBuckhannon, WV2585916.80%Explore
26311Towner County Medical CenterCando, ND2014916.70%Explore
31069Wills Memorial HospitalWashington, GA2529116.70%Explore
43908Coon Memorial HospitalDalhart, TX2160116.60%Explore
52606Desert View HospitalPahrump, NV251,27716.60%Explore
64559Richland HospitalRichland Center, WI2584016.50%Explore
73878Memorial Medical CenterPort Lavaca, TX2568816.40%Explore
82728Mimbres Memorial HospitalDeming, NM251,09116.40%Explore
91592Neosho Memorial Regional Medical CenterChanute, KS211,35216.40%Explore
105407North Caddo Medical CenterVivian, LA2559816.40%Explore
111477Burgess Health CenterOnawa, IA2541816.30%Explore
123892Coleman County Medical CenterColeman, TX2544616.30%Explore
131598Phillips County HospitalPhillipsburg, KS2522016.30%Explore
14463Tahoe Forest HospitalTruckee, CA251,46416.30%Explore
152944Cape Fear Valley - Bladen County HospitalElizabethtown, NC2555916.20%Explore
161268Horizon HealthParis, IL2551816.20%Explore
172088Marlette Regional HospitalMarlette, MI2520016.20%Explore
181930Marthas Vineyard HospitalOak Bluffs, MA2589216.20%Explore
192598Mesa View Regional HospitalMesquite, NV251,10016.20%Explore
201499Myrtue Medical CenterHarlan, IA2552516.20%Explore
213165OhioHealth Hardin Memorial HospitalKenton, OH2534616.20%Explore
223877Ascension Seton Edgar B DavisLuling, TX2354616.10%Explore
234422Braxton County Memorial HospitalGassaway, WV2531016.10%Explore
241267Carle Hoopeston Regional Health CenterHoopeston, IL2230516.10%Explore
253169Hocking Valley Community HospitalLogan, OH2540116.10%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. All-cause hospital readmission rates are sourced from CMS Hospital Compare. Data accurate as of July 2022.

Which critical access hospitals have the highest all-cause readmission rates?

St. Joseph's Hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia has the highest all-cause readmission rates among CAHs at 16.80%. Towner County Medical Center and Wills Memorial Hospital have readmission rates of 16.70%. Four of the CAHs on the list are located in Texas.

We might expect that hospitals with more total discharges to report higher readmission rates. With each patient discharge, there is a risk for 30-day readmission. Interestingly, there does not seem to be a correlation between total discharges and readmission rate.

For instance, some of the top 25 CAHs report more than 1,000 total discharges and have readmission rates similar to hospitals with about 200 discharges. Instead, these differences may be due to factors such as the case complexity or co-morbidities of recent patients receiving care at the hospital.

What is the average all-cause hospital-wide readmission rate?

The average all-cause hospital-wide readmission rate for U.S. hospitals is 15.50%. This is based on readmission data from 4,100 hospitals tracked in the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product. Rates range from 11.50% to 21.20%.

The current average represents a slight decrease in all-cause readmission rates. Compared to a previous analysis of this data in September 2020, the average all-cause readmission rate at U.S. hospitals was 15.59%.

What are critical access hospitals?

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as healthcare facilities that:

  • have fewer than 25 acute care inpatient beds
  • are located more than 35 miles from the nearest hospital (or 15 miles by mountain or secondary roads)
  • maintain an average length of stay of 96 hours or less
  • must provide 24-hour emergency care services

The Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product tracks more than 1,400 CAHs.

Because of this designation and the areas in which they are located, CAHs usually have less specialists, limited service line offerings, have less access to funding and employ fewer physicians.

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