State Takes First Look At Pediatric Hospital Readmissions

DATE : October 19, 2023

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Unplanned hospital readmissions are viewed by health care analysts as a measure of system performance and quality, and new state data marks the inaugural look at readmission rates among people 18 or younger in Massachusetts.

A Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) report released overnight on Thursday found the pediatric readmission rate was 4.7 percent, and has stayed consistent from 2017 to 2022, with annual rates ranging from 4.5 percent to 4.7 percent.

The average length of stay for a discharge resulting in a readmission was 10.3 days, longer than the 7.5-day length of stay for discharges that did not result in a readmission.

"Unplanned hospital readmissions represent significant costs to the health care system and negatively impact patients and their families," CHIA Executive Director Lauren Peters said. "This report affords health care providers and policymakers with new insights and opportunities to improve the quality of care and outcomes for pediatric patients across the Commonwealth."

In 2022, pediatric readmission rates were highest for patients between the ages of 1 and 4 (6.9 percent) and 5 and 7 (6.3 percent), the report said, and patients with Medicaid as the primary payer had a higher readmission rate (5 percent) than commercially insured patients (4.3 percent).

Written by Michael P. Norton/SHNS