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Issues to consider when covering hospital readmission penalties

Jordan Rau

American hospitals may have some of the most advanced medical technology in the world, but they hold an unimpressive record of ensuring their patients continue to get better after they leave. Roughly one in six Medicare patients ends up back in the hospital within a month, and researchers believe a third of those readmissions may be preventable.

The federal government publishes individual hospital readmission rates on its Hospital Compare website, and Medicare is in the fifth year of cutting payments to hospitals with high rates of rehospitalizations. Public scrutiny and financial hits from the penalties are prompting many hospitals to take steps to avert so many returns.

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