Because of health care cost and quality implications, hospital readmissions are increasingly a matter of concern for policymakers, purchasers, and patients. As state and federal budget deficits grow, policy makers are exploring payment reform options to reduce these deficits. Payment changes in Medicare and Medicaid are fast-tracking the measurement and scrutiny of hospital readmissions, though the issue is an all-payer one. Solutions must include health systems and communities working together, not in silos. Public reporting of hospital readmissions is a key strategy for reducing them by engaging the public and promoting quality improvement.
The members of the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO) convened in 2008 and 2009 to assess baseline reporting practices and to identify best practices in state-based readmissions reporting initiatives. Three states have leveraged their quality reporting infrastructures and strong collaborative environments to establish readmissions reporting initiatives. The states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida provide valuable lessons learned for other states embarking on similar Initiatives. These states have engaged key stakeholders, have broad legislative authority, robust data, and proven analytic competencies, providing a framework for quality and readmissions reporting in other states. NAHDO and its state members appreciate the support provided by The Commonwealth Fund to convene states in the 2009 conference, and The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to convene states in 2008.