A study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that Medicare payments for unplanned re-hospitalizations totaled $17.4 billion in 2004. Based on Medicare billing data for fiscal year 2003-2004, the authors estimate that one in five Medicare patients were re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge, with only about 10 percent of these re-hospitalizations planned.
The most frequent reasons for re-hospitalization were:
- Heart failure (8.6 percent)
- Pneumonia (7.3 percent)
- Psychoses (4.3 percent)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (3.9 percent)
Half of patients re-hospitalized within 30 days did not visit a physician after discharge to the community, Nancy Foster, AHA vice president for quality and patient safety, said.