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Effectiveness of Care: 30-Day Readmissions

UTMB ranks 14th out of 107 academic health centers nationally for safety of patient care.

EFFECTIVENESS of care is measured by looking at how often patients (aged 18 and older) are readmitted to the hopsital within 30 days of a previous hospital admission.

UTMB strives to avoid any unplanned readmissions to our hospitals after a previous hospital stay at UTMB. A readmission is defined as patient admission to a hospital within 30 days after being discharged from an earlier hospital stay at the same hospital. There are a number of situations that can lead to patient readmissions. Some are not preventable and not all readmissions are related to a previous visit. The 30-day all-cause readmission rate is the percentage of patients aged 18 and older who returned to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. When a Medicare patient is readmitted within 30 days, the hospital is not paid anything for the second admission. (Note: Obstetric patients and newborns account for about one-third of UTMB’s patient discharges and have a very low readmission rate; therefore, these patients are excluded from our readmission calculation to better understand our overall performance in all other inpatient areas.)

There are a number of situations that can lead to patient readmissions. Some are not preventable and not all readmissions are related to a previous visit:

  1. Patients who may potentially experience problems with medications, such as individuals who must take multiple medications or are on high-risk medications (e.g., blood thinners, insulin, narcotics, etc.).
  2. Patients who screen positive for depression or who have a history of depression.
  3. Patients with a principal diagnosis or reason for hospitalization related to cancer, stroke, diabetic complications, COPD, or heart failure.
  4. Patients with frailty or other physical limitations that impair or limit their ability to significantly participate in their own care (e.g. perform activities of daily living, medication administration, and participation in post-hospital care).
  5. Patients with limited knowledge of or familiarity with basic health information and services.
  6. Patients with poor social support, such as the absence of a reliable caregiver to assist with the discharge process and to assist with care after the patient is discharged.
  7. Patients who experienced an unplanned hospitalization in the six months prior to the current hospitalization.
  8. Patients who are currently undergoing palliative care.

UTMB's care teams work throughout the patient's stay to identify any possible risk factors for readmission and resolve them before the patient is discharged from the hospital. We also ensure patients receive a follow-up phone call after they return home and that they have a follow-up appointment scheduled before discharge.

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