Hospital readmissions higher for chronic conditions

Research Activities, April 2012

The readmission rate following a hospital stay for a chronic condition such as congestive heart failure or diabetes can be substantially higher than for an acute condition like pneumonia or a heart attack, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The Federal agency's analysis of 30-day hospital readmissions in 2008 found that:

  • Among patients age 65 and older covered by Medicare, the readmission rate following a nonsurgical hospitalization was higher for chronic conditions (23 percent) than for acute conditions (19 percent).
  • For adults age 18 to 44 covered by Medicaid, the readmission rate following a nonsurgical hospitalization was about one-third higher for chronic conditions (26 percent) than for acute conditions (19 percent).
  • The 30-day readmission rate was higher for a nonsurgical hospitalization (1 in 5) compared with a surgical hospitalization (1 in 8).

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from Statistical Brief #127: 30-Day Readmissions following Hospitalizations for Chronic vs. Acute Conditions, 2008. The report uses data from the State Inpatient Databases for 15 States—Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington—that represent 42 percent of the total U.S. population. For information about this AHRQ database, go to Databases and Related Tools from HCUP: Fact Sheet .

For additional information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Linwood Norman at Linwood.Norman@ahrq.hhs.gov or (301) 427-1248.

Current as of April 2012
Internet Citation: Hospital readmissions higher for chronic conditions: Research Activities, April 2012. April 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/apr12/0412RA25.html