The Paradox of Readmission Prevention Interventions: Missing Those Most in Need

Erik H. Hoyer, Blair Golden, Geoff Dougherty, Melissa Richardson, Diane Lepley, Curtis Leung, Amy Deutschendorf, Daniel J. Brotman, Rosalyn W. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Post-hospitalization transition interventions remain a priority in preventing rehospitalization. However, not all patients referred for readmission prevention interventions receive them. We sought to 1) define patient characteristics associated with non-receipt of readmission prevention interventions (among those eligible for them), and 2) determine whether these same patient characteristics are associated with hospital readmission at the state level. Methods: We used state-wide data from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission to determine patient-level factors associated with state-wide readmissions. Concurrently, we conducted a retrospective analysis of discharged patients referred to receive 1 of 3 post-discharge interventions between January 2013 and July 2019—a nurse transition guide, post-discharge phone call, or follow-up appointment in our post-discharge clinic—to determine patient-level factors associated with not receiving the intervention. Multivariable generalized estimating equation logistic regression models were used to calculate the odds of not accepting or not receiving the interventions. Results: Older age, male gender, black race, higher expected readmission rate, and lower socioeconomic status were significantly associated with 30-day readmission in hospitalized Maryland patients. Most of these variables (age, sex, race, payer type [Medicaid or non-Medicaid], and socioeconomic status) were also associated with non-receipt of intervention. Conclusions: We found that many of the same patient-level characteristics associated with the highest readmission risk are also associated with non-receipt of readmission reduction interventions. This highlights the paradox that patients at high risk of readmission are least likely to accept or receive interventions for preventing readmission. Identifying strategies to engage hard-to-reach high-risk patients continues to be an unmet challenge in readmission prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1142-1147
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • 30-day readmission
  • Care coordination
  • Transition of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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