Readmission numbers drop

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Readmissions of seniors to a hospital within a month of discharge declined in 2013, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The all-cause 30-day hospital readmission rate for Medicare beneficiaries was 17.5% last year. That's a drop from 18.5% in 2012, and the higher rates than that for several years prior.

Outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said providers outside hospital systems have played an important part in reducing readmissions.

“We applaud the nationwide network of hospital systems and providers that are working together to save lives and reduce costs,” Sebelius commented.

The Affordable Care Act introduced new payment systems meant to reward coordination along the care continuum. Participants in accountable care organizations and other new models share in savings they achieve through integrated care that reduces unnecessary transitions between settings. The ACA also implemented Medicare reimbursement reductions tied to hospitals' readmissions numbers. 


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