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Hospital Readmission Rates on the Rise in Older Adults: Study
Date:10/4/2011

over 14 percent in 2004.

More people were readmitted to the hospital following surgery in 18 regions, most notably White Plains, N.Y., with a jump from 13 percent in 2004 to more than 17 percent five years later. Meanwhile, 28 areas saw a drop in surgical patient readmissions, including Elyria, Ohio, which fell from 19 percent in 2004 to slightly over 15 percent in 2009.

Seven academic medical centers had significant changes in 30-day readmission rates following medical discharge and surgery from 2004 to 2009. Although Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital showed the largest drop in readmissions for medical conditions, the University of Connecticut Health Center, in Farmington, jumped from about 13 percent to almost 18 percent.

Meanwhile, surgical readmissions at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinic in Columbia, Mo., decreased from almost 20 percent in 2004 to less than 15 percent in 2009. In contrast, Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City, increased from nearly 16 percent to more than 19 percent.

Researchers noted a lack of follow-up care after patients were discharged. Overall, about 43 percent of patients discharged from the hospital in 2009 following a medical treatment had a primary care visit within two weeks. The discrepancies were even more pronounced among academic medical centers. For instance, less than 20 percent of patients discharged from New York University Medical Center followed up with a primary care physician within two weeks of being discharged. That rate was nearly three times higher, however, at the Mayo Clinic's St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

Lack of follow-up care and high readmission rates are preventable, the authors said in the release.

"It's very important that patients and health care providers communicate clearly so that all questions are answered and everyone understands what will happen when the patient leaves the hospital," Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO
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