BACKGROUND: Stroke is the leading cause for admission to the nearly 1,200 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) nationally in the US. For many patients, post-acute care is an important component of their rehabilitation. Several quality measures have been publicly reported for post-acute care providers, including hospital readmissions. However, to date none have focused on specific medical conditions, limiting the usability for patients and quality improvement.
OBJECTIVE: To assess hospital readmission rates for Medicare patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation following stroke and to identify risk factors in order to evaluate the feasibility of a stroke-specific hospital readmission measure.
METHODS: Observational study analyzing national Medicare inpatient claims and administrative data to assess hospital readmissions. Using logistic regression, we calculated unadjusted and risk-standardized readmission rates, which adjusted for patient characteristics, including type of stroke and admission function, to capture stroke severity.
RESULTS: Our national study included 116,073 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiary discharged from IRFs in 2013-2014 following stroke from 1,162 IRFs nationally. The observed hospital readmission rate among IRF patients following stroke was 11.6% and varied by patients' admission motor function. Patients with greater functional dependence had higher readmission rates on average. Lower admission function, hemorrhagic and other stroke types (relative to ischemic) were significantly associated with higher odds of hospital readmission.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest it is feasible to assess hospital readmission rates among a stroke-cohort treated in IRFs. Stroke-focused quality measures would be useful to patients in selecting a provider and for providers in evaluating their stroke rehabilitation program outcomes. Secondary results suggest that admission function (FIM) capture stroke severity, a limitation with other claims-based stroke measures.