November 1, 2017

Report: Worcester County highest on readmissions

Courtesy of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Federal data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show Worcester County is highest in Massachusetts for readmission of Medicare patients, according to a new report.

Worcester County had the highest hospital readmission rate for Medicare patients of 14 Massachusetts counties between October 2015 and September 2016, according to a new report by healthcare research firm Dexur.

The New York City-based firm included data on all U.S. acute-care hospitals that report 30-day readmission rates the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). In October 2012, CMS began penalizing hospitals for excessive readmissions of Medicare patients with six common diagnoses, such as heart attack and pneumonia, based on a ratio of actual to expected readmissions.

In Worcester County, the 30-day readmission rate was 26.46 percent, higher than the state average of 24.75 percent, and a national average of 22.89 percent, according to Dexur.

Readmission rates tend to be higher in areas that are underserved by providers, and where there is a large number of low-income patients. Rates also tend to be higher in areas that are home to large hospitals, where patient acuity tends to be higher.

Following Worcester County in Massachusetts were Bristol County, at 25.46 percent, and Essex County, at 25.34 percent. Middlesex County, which includes several MetroWest-area communities, was seventh for readmissions, at 24.83 percent. Dukes County had the lowest rate of readmission, at 20.15 percent.

Massachusetts ranked eighth highest for readmissions in the U.S., with Nevada taking the number-one spot with a rate of 28.08 percent. Montana had the lowest readmission rate, at 17.14 percent.

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