Readmissions continue to inch up at hospitals

Pennsylvania's hospitals readmitted 58,084 patients between October 1, 2008 and Sept. 30 2009, including 21,688 readmissions for complications or infections, according to data from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.

The readmissions came at a steep cost: 343,000 additional hospital days and $2.6 billion in charges. The charges translated to about $650 million in actual payments to hospitals, according to the PHCCCC.

Readmissions attributed to infections or complications racked up 150,000 patient days and $1.1 billion in charges--nearly half of the total. The overall readmission rate for this category was 7.1 percent, although patients suffering from pneumonia/aspiration--considered a commonly treatable condition--had a readmission rate of 16.6 percent.

"The report illustrates the importance of preventing infections and reducing complications to every extent possible since nearly 40 percent of readmissions can be attributed to these causes," said PHCCC executive director Joe Martin.

However, the overall readmission rate for 15 specific conditions has risen from 18.3 percent in 2002 to 19.2 percent in 2009, reports the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader. The readmission rate has been fairly static since the middle of the decade, when it stood at 19 percent.

Meanwhile, the mortality rate has dropped from 5.1 percent in 2002 to 4.1 percent during the 2008-2009 reporting period.

For more:
- read the report
- read the Healthcare Finance News article
- read the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader article