AHA: Linkage Between Readmissions and Quality Complex

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A recent Trendwatch report, published by the American Hospital Association, examines the linkage between hospital readmission and quality, calling into question whether hospital readmissions is an appropriate measure of quality.

Under the healthcare reform law, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program will begin penalizing hospitals for higher-than-expected rates of hospital readmissions in fiscal year 2013.


The AHA report outlines four different types of hospital readmissions:

•    A planned readmission related to the initial admission.
•    A planned readmission unrelated to the initial admission.
•    An unplanned readmission unrelated to the initial admission.
•    An unplanned readmission related to the initial admission.

AHA draws attention to and expresses concern over the last category of unplanned readmissions related to the initial admission, stating "[hospitals] cannot influence the occurrence of unplanned, unrelated readmissions because they are not predictable or preventable."

AHA goes on to argue hospitals should not be penalized for planned readmissions if a patient's return visit to the hospital is critical to his or her treatment plan.

Related Articles on Hospital Readmissions:

Some Top Hospitals Don't Make Joint Commission's List of High Quality Providers
Readmissions in New York Cost $3.7B
UCSF Medical Center's Heart Program Helped Lower Readmissions by 30%

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