Patient Care

Hospitalist Staffing Affects 30-Day All-Cause Readmission Rates


Clinical question: What hospital characteristics are associated with 30-day all-cause readmission rates?

Background: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks 30-day all-cause readmission rates as a quality measure. Prior studies have looked at various hospital factors associated with lower readmission rates but have not looked at hospitalist staffing levels, level of physician integration with the hospital, and the adoption of a medical home model.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Private hospitals.

Synopsis: Using the American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals, CMS Hospital Compare, and Area Health Resources File of private hospitals with no missing data, the study reviewed data from 1,756 hospitals and found the median 30-day all-cause readmission rate to be 16%, with the middle 50% of hospitals’ readmission rate between 15.2% and 16.5%. All hospitals used hospitalists to provide care. Fifty-one percent of hospitals reported fully integrated, or employed, physicians. Twenty-nine percent reported establishment of a medical home.

The study found that higher hospitalist staffing levels were associated with significantly lower readmission rates. Fully integrated hospitals had a lower readmission rate than not fully integrated (15.86% versus 15.93%). Also, physician-owned hospitals had a lower readmission rate than non-physician-owned hospitals, and hospitals that had adopted a medical home model had significantly lower readmission rates. Readmission rates were significantly higher for major teaching hospitals (16.9% versus 15.76% minor teaching versus 15.83% nonteaching).

Bottom line: High hospitalist staffing levels, full integration of the hospitalists, and physician-owned hospitals were associated with lower 30-day all-cause readmission rates for private hospitals.

Citation: Al-Amin M. Hospital characteristics and 30-day all-cause readmission rates [published online ahead of print May 17, 2016]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2606

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