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).