Currently, Medicare and private insurers are attempting to put in place incentives to reduce the number of readmissions. Visits to the hospital are costly and reducing the frequency of hospital visits is the best means to reduce medical costs. In particular, if readmissions are the fault of the care the patients receive during the initial admissions, hospitals should be liable for subsequent care.
“A higher occurrence of readmissions after index admissions for heart failure was associated with lower risk-adjusted 30-day mortality. Our findings suggest that readmissions could be ‘adversely’ affected by a competing risk of death — a patient who dies during the index episode of care can never be readmitted. Hence, if a hospital has a lower mortality rate, then a greater proportion of its discharged patients are eligible for readmission. As such, to some extent, a higher readmission rate may be a consequence of successful care.”