CT has second highest rate of 2013 hospital Medicare readmission penalties

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CT was behind only NJ last year in the percent of hospitals receiving Medicare readmission penalties and the average penalty for CT hospitals more than doubled from 2012. Medicare fines hospitals for patients who return unplanned to the hospital for treatment within 30 days of discharge compared to an expected readmission rate, adjusted for severity of illness, age, and other conditions. According to experts, more than half of readmission spending could have been avoided. The highest penalty for a CT hospital went to St. Vincent’s which has been above average since the quality improvement program began three years ago. New Milford Hospital has received no penalty in any of the last three years. No CT hospital received the maximum penalty in 2013. Hospitals have responded to the program by replacing cursory paper discharge plans with meaningful connections to care in the community. This year the program expanded the maximum penalty and the number of conditions they evaluate. Twelve CT hospitals experienced significant increases in penalties this year.