Rates for 30-day readmissions have fallen since the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program was initiated in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act, according to a blog post by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The post noted that rates fell by more than 5 percent in 43 states and by more than 10 percent in 11 states. Vermont is the only state in which rates increased, and that was by just 0.7 percent.
While the decreases are attributed primarily to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program—which reduces Medicare reimbursement rates for hospitals that have higher than expected 30-day readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, total knee and hip replacements and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—the post acknowledged that other quality improvement initiatives, like the Partnership for Patients, have contributed to the lower rates as well. That program is designed to improve the safety of care provided in the hospital and during transitions to other care settings.
CMS estimates that Medicare beneficiaries avoided 100,000 readmissions in 2015, and approximately 565,000 since 2010, compared with what the numbers would have been at 2010 rates. The decreases were highest from 2010 to 2012, tapering off after that.
Nationally, the absolute readmission rate decreased only a little more than 1 percent from 2010 to 2015, from slightly more than 19 percent to just less than 18 percent.