What is a hospital readmission
A hospital readmission occurs when a patient is admitted to a hospital within a specified time period after being discharged from a previous hospitalization. For Medicare, this time period is 30 days, and includes hospital readmissions to any hospital, not just the hospital the patient was originally hospitalized. Medicare uses an “all-cause” definition of readmission, meaning that hospital stays within 30 days of a discharge are considered readmissions, regardless of the reason.
Cost of readmission
Preventable hospital readmissions are a big part of unnecessary medical spending. According to data from the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), the estimated annual cost for Medicare is $26 billion annually and $17 billion is considered avoidable. Medicare fined 2,610 hospitals for admitting patients within 30 days of a discharge in 2014; These hospitals faced a penalty rate that increased from 2 percent to 3 percent.