General Healthy Living

Understanding Hospital Readmissions

Hospital readmission rates have long been used as a tool to gauge the effectiveness and quality of care hospital patients receive. The lower the readmission rate, the higher the perceived quality of care. The Affordable Care Act, which took effect in October of 2012, readmission rates became one of the new federal aims for improving overall hospital care.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establish a readmission period over a 30-day window that starts from the moment a patient is discharged from the hospital. If the patient is readmitted to any hospital, not just the one from which the patient was initially discharged, within 30 days, this counts as a readmission, and it is considered a readmission if admitted for a health condition that has no relationship to the original admission. The conditions monitored by CMS include heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia but hospitals strive to keep all patients from being readmitted no matter the condition.

A desire to improve the quality-of-care patients receive and prevent patients from having to come back to the hospital, hospitals began to place more emphasis on patient education such as post-surgical discharge instructions, medication education, prevention, lifestyle changes and maintenance for chronic health conditions. It was also critical for hospitals to focus on connecting patients with a physician for follow up care, and working more closely with case management staff to find the most appropriate care to improve the patient’s outcome.

Sebastian River Medical Center encourages patients and their families to be a part of the discussion regarding their health.  Patients are encouraged to ask questions and discuss concerns, and to have regularly scheduled health care visits with their physicians, especially in the case of chronic diseases such as heart failure.  Our goal is to help keep our communities healthy and prevent unnecessary, often inconvenient hospital visits. For more information on hospital readmissions, visit

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