(HealthDay News) – For patients discharged from inpatient rehabilitation facilities, 30-day readmission rates are 11.8%  overall, according to a study published in the February 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of records for 736,536 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries discharged from 1,365 inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Sixty-three percent of the patients were women and 85.1% were non-Hispanic white. The authors sought to examine the 30-day readmission rates for the six largest impairment categories receiving inpatient rehabilitation. These included stroke, lower extremity fracture, lower extremity joint replacement, debility, neurologic disorders, and brain dysfunction.

The researchers found that the overall 30-day readmission rate was 11.8%, with rates ranging from 5.8% for patients with lower extremity joint replacement to 18.8% for patients with debility. The highest rates were seen in men, non-Hispanic blacks, beneficiaries with dual eligibility, and in patients with tier 1 comorbidities. Across the six impairment categories, higher motor and cognitive functional status correlated with lower hospital readmission rates. By state, the adjusted readmission rates ranged from 9.2–13.6%. About half of the rehospitalized patients were readmitted within 11 days of discharge.

“Among postacute rehabilitation facilities providing services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, 30-day readmission rates ranged from 5.8–18.8% for selected impairment groups,” the authors write. “Further research is needed to understand the causes of readmission.”

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