Hospital readmissions are a key focus of the Affordable Care Act; any hospital stay can cause costs to soar, and limiting readmissions is not all that difficult to do. The federal government pegs the cost of readmissions at $17 billion annually.
Limiting readmissions requires monitoring patients after they leave the hospital. So a key provision of the ACA is that hospitals are penalized in Medicare and Medicaid payments if hospital admissions remain high.
Through an initiative of the New Jersey Hospital Association, Garden State hospitals have focused on the factors that prevent avoidable readmissions and thus have seen a reduction of 13.3 percent since 2010 – the second highest in the nation after Hawaii. What might be even more surprising is the fact that New Jersey, which had the second highest readmission rate in 2010, now has among the lowest — tied with nine other states. New Jersey’s readmission rate stands at 17.6 percent.