STAAR Issue Brief: The Effect of Medicare Readmissions Penalties on Hospitals’ Efforts to Reduce Readmissions

​Laderman M, Loehrer S, McCarthy D. STAAR Issue Brief: The Effect of Medicare Readmissions Penalties on Hospitals’ Efforts to Reduce Readmissions: Perspectives from the Field. Cambridge, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; February 2013.

Medicare has begun financially penalizing hospitals that have higher than expected rates of 30-day readmissions for select conditions. To understand the impact of the penalties, this Issue Brief synthesizes perspectives from leaders of state hospital associations, quality improvement organizations, and hospitals representing a range of performance and experiences in readmissions and their reduction.

Interviewees reported the penalties have positively influenced hospital leaders’ commitment to reduce readmissions and have increased transparency and cooperation to improve care transitions between acute and post-acute care providers. Concerns about the penalties, including how they are calculated, are also described.

The IHI authors also summarize the report's findings in a blog post for The Commonwealth Fund.


This document was prepared as part of the work of IHI's STate Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR) initiative.

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