Reconsidering hospital readmission measures

Peter J. Pronovost, Daniel J. Brotman, Erik H. Hoyer, Amy Deutschendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Current hospital readmission measures are part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Five-Star Quality Rating System but are inadequate for reporting hospital quality. We review potential biases in the readmission measures and offer policy recommendations to address these biases. Hospital readmission rates are influenced by multiple sources of variation (eg, mix of patients served, bias in the performance measure); true differences in quality of care are often a much smaller source of this variation. Thus, variation from caring for large proportions of socioeconomically disadvantaged or tertiary-care patients will bias a hospital’s ratings. Ratings aside, readmission measures may indirectly harm patients because low readmission rates do not correlate with reduced mortality, yet the Five-Star Quality Rating System weighs readmission equally with mortality. We propose that hospital quality rankings not use readmission measures as currently constructed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1011
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Hospital Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Care Planning
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management
  • Internal Medicine


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