National Academy of Medicine

Treating a Chronic Condition: Efforts to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions at U.S. Hospitals

By Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
August 13, 2013 | Commentary

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.




Suggested Citation

Lavizzo-Mourey, R. 2013. Treating a Chronic Condition: Efforts to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions at U. S. Hospitals. NAM Perspectives. Commentary, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. doi: 10.31478/201308c


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.