Despite an ongoing campaign to reduce hospital readmissions among Medicare patients, more than 12 percent of patients nationwide wind up returning to inpatient care within 30 days, concludes a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The rates were significantly higher in selected metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Chicago and Detroit.
"While there are certainly pockets of improvement, as a nation, we have a long ways to go," said David C. Goodman, M.D., the co-principal investigator for the Dartmouth Atlas, which compiled the information on the foundation's behalf. "And many patients are readmitted simply because they live in a region where the hospital is used more frequently at the site of care," he noted. Study