Hospital readmission rates in Medicare advantage and traditional Medicare a retrospective population-based analysis

Orestis A. Panagiotou, Amit Kumar, Roee Gutman, Laura M. Keohane, Maricruz Rivera-Hernandez, Momotazur Rahman, Pedro L. Gozalo, Vincent Mor, Amal N. Trivedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program reports risk-standardized readmission rates for traditional Medicare but not Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Objective: To compare readmission rates between Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare. Design: Retrospective cohort study linking the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) file with the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). Setting: 4748 U.S. acute care hospitals. Patients: Patients aged 65 years or older hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (n = 841 613), congestive heart failure (CHF) (n = 1 458 652), or pneumonia (n = 2 020 365) between 2011 and 2014. Measurements: 30-day readmissions. Results: Among admissions for AMI, CHF, and pneumonia identified in MedPAR, 29.2%, 38.0%, and 37.2%, respectively, did not have a corresponding record in HEDIS. Of these, 18.9% for AMI, 23.7% for CHF, and 18.3% for pneumonia resulted in a readmission that was identified in MedPAR. However, among index admissions appearing in HEDIS, 14.4% for AMI, 18.4% for CHF, and 13.9% for pneumonia resulted in a readmission. Patients in Medicare Advantage had lower unadjusted readmission rates than those in traditional Medicare for all 3 conditions (16.6% vs. 17.1% for AMI, 21.4% vs. 21.7% for CHF, and 16.3% vs. 16.4% for pneumonia). However, after standardization, patients in Medicare Advantage had higher readmission rates than patients in traditional Medicare for AMI (17.2% vs. 16.9%; difference, 0.3 percentage point [95% CI, 0.1 to 0.5 percentage point]), CHF (21.7% vs. 21.4%; difference, 0.3 percentage point [CI, 0.2 to 0.5 percentage point]), and pneumonia (16.5% vs. 16.0%; difference, 0.5 percentage point [95% CI, 0.4 to 0.6 percentage point]). Rate differences increased between 2011 and 2014. Limitation: Potential unobserved differences between populations. Conclusion: The HEDIS data underreported hospital admissions for 3 common medical conditions, and readmission rates were higher among patients with underreported admissions. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had higher risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rates than traditional Medicare beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 16 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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