April 17, 2014

Hospital readmission results in ‘revolving door’

A new report says all too often patients find themselves back in the hospital within weeks of going home. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found seniors are especially vulnerable with almost one in five elderly patients released from a hospital back within 30 days, and more than one in three are back within 90 days.

Anne Weiss, senior program director with RWJF, says Medicare spends $17 billion a year in these preventable cases. She adds these readmissions are a strain on the patients’ health, their families, and care givers.

Weiss says the number of re-entrants to the hospital can be decreased with proper instructions while initially hospitalized, then with providers, pharmacies, and family members following up.

She calls Wisconsin a “bit of a bright spot” as the eight regions in the state have readmission rates below the national average.

The report categorized readmission based on two categories, those who returned for medical reasons and those who returned for surgical reasons. Wisconsin patients favored the best in the surgical category. The national average is 12.4 percent of patients returning, and with the exception of Milwaukee, the Badger State numbers hover around 10 percent.