The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act, was implemented to reduce preventable hospital readmissions for targeted conditions by adjusting payments for hospitals with higher than expected rates. CMS has additional quality improvement initiatives in place, including Partnership for Patients which seeks to improve care for beneficiaries as they change health care settings. Hospital readmissions are expensive and can be an indicator of poor quality care. Discharging patients with the proper medication, instructions for follow-up care, and clear instructions are simple steps that can reduce preventable hospital readmissions.
Newly released data from CMS indicates that these and other measures are proving effective, evidenced by a significant reduction in the number of Medicare beneficiaries readmitted to hospitals in the 30 days after being discharged. In fact, the readmission rate fell between 2010 and 2015 in every state and the District of Columbia except for Vermont. The readmission rate declined by 8 percent nationally in the same time period.