Thirty-day hospital readmission following discharge from postacute rehabilitation in fee-for-service medicare patients

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Amol Karmarkar, James E. Graham, Yong Fang Kuo, Anne Deutsch, Timothy A. Reistetter, Soham Al Snih, Carl V. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently identified 30-day readmission after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation facilities as a national quality indicator. Research is needed to determine the rates and factors related to readmission in this patient population. OBJECTIVE: To determine 30-day readmission rates and factors related to readmission for patients receiving postacute inpatient rehabilitation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: Retrospective cohort study of records for 736 536 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries (mean age, 78.0 [SD, 7.3] years) discharged from 1365 inpatient rehabilitation facilities to the community in 2006 through 2011. Sixty-three percent of patients were women, and 85.1% were non-Hispanic white. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Thirty-day readmission rates for the 6 largest diagnostic impairment categories receiving inpatient rehabilitation. These included stroke, lower extremity fracture, lower extremity joint replacement, debility, neurologic disorders, and brain dysfunction. RESULTS: Mean rehabilitation length of stay was 12.4 (SD, 5.3) days. The overall 30-day readmission rate was 11.8%(95% CI, 11.7%-11.8%). Rates ranged from 5.8% (95% CI, 5.8%-5.9%) for patients with lower extremity joint replacement to 18.8% (95% CI, 18.8%-18.9%). for patients with debility. Rates were highest in men (13.0% [95% CI, 12.8%-13.1%], vs 11.0% [95% CI, 11.0%-11.1%] in women), non-Hispanic blacks (13.8% [95% CI, 13.5%-14.1%], vs 11.5% [95% CI, 11.5%-11.6%] in whites, 12.5% [95% CI, 12.1%-12.8%] in Hispanics, and 11.9% [95% CI, 11.4%-12.4%] in other races/ethnicities), beneficiaries with dual eligibility (15.1% [95% CI, 14.9%-15.4%], vs 11.1% [95% CI, 11.0%-11.2%] for no dual eligibility), and in patients with tier 1 comorbidities (25.6% [95% CI, 24.9%-26.3%], vs 18.9% [95% CI, 18.5%-19.3%] for tier 2, 15.1% [95% CI, 14.9%-15.3%] for tier 3, and 9.9% [95% CI, 9.9%-10.0%] for no tier comorbidities). Higher motor and cognitive functional status were associated with lower hospital readmission rates across the 6 impairment categories. Adjusted readmission rates by state ranged from 9.2%to 13.6%. Approximately 50% of patients rehospitalized within the 30-day period were readmitted within 11 days of discharge. Medicare Severity Diagnosis-Related Group codes for heart failure, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, septicemia, nutritional and metabolic disorders, esophagitis, gastroenteritis, and digestive disorders were common reasons for readmission. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among postacute rehabilitation facilities providing services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 30-day readmission rates ranged from 5.8% to 18.8% for selected impairment groups. Further research is needed to understand the causes of readmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-614
Number of pages11
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 12 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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