CMS: Avoidable hospital readmission rates have dropped in 49 states

New data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finds that almost all states improved on preventable hospital readmissions between 2010 and 2015, while readmissions declined 8 percent nationwide in the same period.

Preventable readmissions dropped in 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to a CMS blog post. Vermont's rate remained the same. 

The drops aren’t small, either; according to the data, the decline exceeded 5 percent in 43 states and 10 percent in 11. Across all states, hospitals averted about 100,000 readmissions in 2015 and a projected 565,000 since 2010.

Hawaii (13.4 percent) and New Jersey (13.3) had the biggest drop in readmissions.

The data shows that readmission reduction efforts are working, CMS Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., and Deputy Chief of Staff Tim Gronniger, said in the blog post.

"The goal of [readmission reduction] efforts is to spend our healthcare dollars more wisely to promote better care for Medicare beneficiaries and other Americans across the country," they wrote.

Readmission reduction is a major CMS goal, with the agency levying half of U.S. hospitals with penalties for failing to cut them in August. However, recent research from Johns Hopkins University raises questions about whether there’s even a link between care quality and readmissions, FierceHealthcare previously reported.