Study: Complication Rates Do Not Fully Explain Readmission Rate Variance

Complication rates do not solely account for the differences in readmission rates among hospitals, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Researchers examined 30-day risk-adjusted readmission rates of 5,181 laparoscopic or open colectomy patients at 24 hospitals in the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative from May 2007 to January 2011. Average readmission rates ranged from 5.1 percent among hospitals with the lowest readmission rates to 10.3 percent among hospitals with highest readmission rates.

The reasons for readmission and patients' median length of stay were similar among hospitals with low readmission rates and hospitals with high readmission rates. While hospitals with high readmission rates had higher risk-adjusted complication rates, complication rates varied widely among hospitals with similar readmission rates. In addition, measures to reduce complications were not associated with fewer complications or readmission rates (although they were tied to lower surgical site infection rates).

The authors concluded that the wide variation in complication rates among hospitals that perform similarly on readmissions suggests overall complication rates "explain little of their readmission rates," according to the study.

More Articles on Hospital Readmissions:

Quality Measures in the IPPS Rule: Proposed vs. Final
CMS Responds to 6 Major Critiques of Readmission Measure
Transitional Care Program in North Carolina Reduced Readmission Risk 20%

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