In 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the 30-day, all-cause readmission rate had decreased to 17.8 percent, after averaging 19 percent for the past 5 years. This improvement translates to 70,000 fewer readmissions in 2012, but, more importantly, it means that real people behind these numbers didn’t have to return to the hospital unnecessarily.
This, of course, is good news and demonstrable evidence that CMS’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program is moving the needle in the right direction. The program currently reduces Medicare reimbursements for hospitals with high rates of heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia readmissions. For fiscal year 2014, CMS recommends a revised methodology to take into account planned readmissions for the existing three measures and, for fiscal year 2015, proposes two new measures: readmissions for hip/knee arthroplasty and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.