NY lags on readmission rates

by Bill Hammond |  | NY Torch

New York’s hospitals are lagging the nation in the push to reduce readmission rates, newly released federal data show.

Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government docks Medicare payments to hospitals that have too many patients bounce back within 30 days of discharge.

High readmission rates are seen as an indicator of flawed care management and a driver of excess healthcare spending.

Ninety-three percent of the state’s hospitals face a penalty in the year ahead, according to the data, according to a summary table published by Kaiser Health News. That’s the sixth-highest share in the nation, 13 points above the average for all states.

The average penalty for New York hospitals, which is just under 1 percent of Medicare fees, is the fifth highest. The average for hospitals nationwide was about 0.6 percent.

Three New York hospitals – Arnot Ogden in Elmira, Auburn Memorial in Auburn, and St. John’s Episcopal in Far Rockaway – face the highest possible penalty of 3 percent.

Ten achieved low enough readmission rates to avoid any penalty: Albany Memorial, Burdett Care Center in Troy, Cobleskill Regional, HealthAlliance Mary’s Avenue Campus in Kingston, Helen Hayes in West Haverstraw, Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Jones Memorial in Wellsville, Monroe Community in Rochester, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in Manhattan, Sunnyview in Schenectady and Westfield Memorial.

Another 21 New York hospitals specializing in the care of veterans, children, psychiatric patients, or cancer patients were exempt from the program.

A study published last year by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services showed that readmission rates nationwide declined by 8 percent in the first five years of the penalty program.

The rate among New York hospitals declined by almost 11 percent, but remained the seventh-highest among states as of 2015.