Preventable hospitalizations down, nursing home quality steady, report finds

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Potentially preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries have dropped 25% over the past four years, according to a report published last week.

The United Health Foundation's annual America's Health Ranking Senior Report also showed that hospital deaths among Medicare beneficiaries dropped 30% since 2013. The number of beneficiaries readmitted to the hospital dropped 7% over the same timespan.

The report also gauged the nation's average nursing home quality — the percentage of certified skilled nursing beds rated four- or five-stars over a three-month period — to be 42.4% for 2017. That's the same level reported by the group in 2016, and .1% less than the 2015 average.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid changed the way star ratings were calculated in 2015, which providers argued made it harder to achieve four or five stars.

Maine ranked as the best state for nursing home quality at 56.4%, while West Virginia landed last on the report's list with 25.8% of nursing home beds deemed “quality.”

The report found Minnesota, Utah and Hawaii as the healthiest states for seniors overall. Mississippi, Kentucky and Oklahoma ranked as the states with the “biggest opportunities for improvement.”

Click here to read the full report.