“Readmissions are not a quality measure”

I had on my list to blog about Karen Joynt and Ashish Jha’s latest NEJM Perspective on hospital readmissions. Then I got word that Brad Flansbaum was interviewing Ashish for his blog, so I decided to wait. It’s now up. Go read it!

Just to backfill a bit, the point in the NEJM Perspective that I will return to is the suggestion for a new measure.

As things stand, hospitals with high mortality rates but low readmission rates do better under the CMS payment scheme than hospitals with low mortality rates but high readmission rates. One method by which these two outcomes could be combined is to assess patients’ 30-day “days alive and out of hospital.”

This deserves some consideration.


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