MedPAC: A quarter of Medicare hospital readmissions are preventable

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One-quarter of hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries are preventable, with the leading cause for those readmissions is heart failure, a Medicare advisory board report noted.

Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission on Friday reviewed regional Medicare data collected by 3M Health Information Services about preventable hospital readmissions. Preventable readmissions, as defined by the panel, are admissions that could have been avoided with adequate care. Factors that increase a beneficiary's risk of being readmitted to the hospital include having one or more disabilities and living in a rural area, according to the report. African-Americans also are more likely to have a preventable readmission than white beneficiaries, according to 3M's data.

For their analysis, the 3M researchers reviewed Medicare claims data from 2006 to 2008 in six hospital service areas and adjusted risk for age and clinical risk groups. MedPAC is an independent committee that advises Congress. Click here to download a transcript of the meeting.