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Written by: Bob Habasevich, PT on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Posted in: Inpatient Rehab

Renewed Attention to Hospital Readmissions

In 2011, CMS initiated the quality reporting measures for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities; the third proposed measure, ’30 day readmission rate’ was dropped from discussion. Hospital readmission penalties have had a significant economic impact especially for high-intensity teaching hospitals. Until now, IRFs have been flying under the radar of reported readmissions. A recent study published by Ken Ottenbacher, in the  Journal of the American Medical Association  brings renewed attention to the issue.

The study encompassing 736,536 Medicare fee-for-service patients from 1,365 IRFs discharged to the community between 2006 and 2012 reported the 30-day readmission rates for the six largest diagnostic impairment categories (stroke, lower extremity fracture, lower extremity joint replacement, debility, neurologic disorders and brain dysfunction).

The average readmission rate among this population was 11.8 percent with 50 percent of readmissions occurring within 11 days of discharge from the IRF. Heart failure, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, septicemia, nutritional and metabolic disorders, esophagitis, gastroenteritis and digestive disorders were common reasons for readmission.

This study establishes a benchmark for IRF providers to compare the effectiveness of current efforts to improve population health status and reduce hospital readmission rates.

Is your IRF seeing similar results? Comment below.