The Costs of 10 Top Medicare Readmission Conditions

Readmissions added $41.3 billion in hospital costs in 2011, and 58 percent of those costs stemmed from Medicare patients.

Those findings come from an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality statistical brief, released this month.

All told, Medicare patients represented 56 percent of all readmissions in 2011. The three most common conditions for a Medicare readmission were congestive heart failure, septicemia and pneumonia, and all three were also the most expensive. Complications of devices, implants or grafts were the tenth most common readmission condition, but they were the sixth most expensive.

Here are the costs of the 10 most common Medicare readmissions, according to the AHRQ brief. Note: Costs were defined as the actual expenses incurred in the production of hospital services (such as wages, supplies and utility costs). A readmission was defined as a patient who was hospitalized within 30 days of a previous hospital admission.

1. Congestive heart failure — $1.75 billion (134,500 total readmissions)
2. Septicemia (except in labor) — $1.41 billion (92,900 total readmissions)
3. Pneumonia (except caused by tuberculosis or STDs) — $1.15 billion (88,800 total readmissions)
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchiectasis — $924 million (77,900 total readmissions)
5. Cardiac dysrhythmias — $835 million (69,400 total readmissions)
6. Complication of device, implant or graft — $742 million (47,200 total readmissions)
7. Heart attack — $693 million (51,300 total readmissions)
8. Acute and unspecified renal failure — $683 million (53,500 total readmissions)
9. Urinary tract infections — $621 million (56,900 total readmissions)
10. Acute cerebrovascular disease — $568 million (45,800 total readmissions)

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