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Thirty-Day Hospital Readmission Following Discharge From Postacute Rehabilitation in Fee-for-Service Medicare Patients

IMPORTANCE The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently identified 30-day readmission after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation facilities as a national quality indicator. Research is needed to determine the rates and factors related to readmission in this patient population. OBJECTIVE To determine 30-day readmission rates and factors related to readmission for patients receiving postacute inpatient rehabilitation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS Retrospective cohort study of records for 736 536 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries (mean age, 78.0 [SD, 7.3] years) discharged from 1365 inpatient rehabilitation facilities to the community in 2006 through 2011. Sixty-three percent of patients were women, and 85.1% were non-Hispanic white. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Thirty-day readmission rates for the 6 largest diagnostic impairment categories receiving inpatient rehabilitation. These included stroke, lower extremity fracture, lower extremity joint replacement, debility, neurologic disorders, and brain dysfunction. RESULTS Mean rehabilitation length of stay was 12.4 (SD, 5.3) days. The overall 30-day readmission rate was 11.8%(95% CI, 11.7%-11.8%). Rates ranged from 5.8% (95% CI, 5.8%-5.9%) for patients with lower extremity joint replacement to 18.8% (95% CI, 18.8%-18.9%). for patients with debility. Rates were highest in men (13.0%[95% CI, 12.8%-13.1%], vs 11.0%[95% CI, 11.0%-11.1%] in women), non-Hispanic blacks (13.8% [95% CI, 13.5%-14.1%], vs 11.5%[95% CI, 11.5%-11.6%] in whites, 12.5%[95% CI, 12.1%-12.8%] in Hispanics, and 11.9%[95% CI, 11.4%-12.4%] in other races/ethnicities), beneficiaries with dual eligibility (15.1%[95% CI, 14.9%-15.4%], vs 11.1%[95% CI, 11.0%-11.2%] for no dual eligibility), and in patients with tier 1 comorbidities (25.6%[95% CI, 24.9%-26.3%], vs 18.9%[95% CI, 18.5%-19.3%] for tier 2, 15.1%[95% CI, 14.9%-15.3%] for tier 3, and 9.9% [95% CI, 9.9%-10.0%] for no tier comorbidities). Higher motor and cognitive functional status were associated with lower hospital readmission rates across the 6 impairment categories. Adjusted readmission rates by state ranged from 9.2% to 13.6%. Approximately 50% of patients rehospitalized within the 30-day period were readmitted within 11 days of discharge. Medicare Severity Diagnosis-Related Group codes for heart failure, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, septicemia, nutritional and metabolic disorders, esophagitis, gastroenteritis, and digestive disorders were common reasons for readmission. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Among postacute rehabilitation facilities providing services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 30-day readmission rates ranged from 5.8% to 18.8% for selected impairment groups. Further research is needed to understand the causes of readmission


Ottenbacher, KJ., Karmarkar, A., Graham, JE., Kuo, YF., Deutsch, A., Reistetter, TA., ... Granger, CV. (2014). Thirty-Day Hospital Readmission Following Discharge From Postacute Rehabilitation in Fee-for-Service Medicare Patients. JAMA, 311(6), 604-614. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.8

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