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July 28, 2015

The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Time for Reform

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2The United States Senate (D-West Virginia), Washington, DC
  • 3The United States Senate (R-Mississippi), Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;314(4):347-348. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6507

Hospital readmissions are costly and detrimental to both patients and taxpayers. In 2013, almost 18% of Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.1 Although this rate is somewhat lower than in previous years, patients are still being readmitted too often, potentially costing Medicare more than $26 billion annually. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an estimated $17 billion of that expenditure is related to readmissions that could have been avoided.2