CMS: 30-day hospital readmission rates fall in 49 states

Programs to reduce hospital readmissions are working, Conway said
Programs to reduce hospital readmissions are working, Conway said

Thirty-day hospital readmission rates dropped in all states except one between 2010 and 2015, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In a blog post published Tuesday, CMS Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., credited the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and other federal initiatives with the 8% decrease in national readmission rates recorded between 2010 and 2015. As caregiving partners along the healthcare continuum, nursing homes and other long-term care providers have been pressured along with hospitals to create more efficient episodes of care.

“The goal of all of these efforts is to spend our healthcare dollars more wisely to promote better care for Medicare beneficiaries and other Americans across the country,” Conway wrote. “The data show that these efforts are working.”

Every state except Vermont reported decreases in readmission rates between 2010 and 2015. Vermont's data was “virtually unchanged,” Conway noted. Readmission rates in 43 states dropped by more than 5%, while the rates in 11 states fell by more than 10% in that five-year period.

Those decreases translate to around 100,000 avoided readmissions in 2015 alone, and an estimated 565,000 cumulatively since 2010, CMS said.