Investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch recently analyzed the 2013 National Readmission Database (NRD) data to estimate the 30-day readmission rates among adults hospitalized for asthma, and their relationship with different age groups. They found that 14.2 percent of adults hospitalized with asthma were readmitted within 30 days of their discharge, and older and middle aged adults have increased risk of readmissions than younger asthmatic adults.
Several studies on asthma readmissions have been conducted using patients’ samples that limited generalizability of the estimates. This is the first study to look at the national data and estimate the rates. The findings, published in the CHEST journal, were similar to rates reported in earlier studies. The study findings are important post implementation of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (October 2012) that currently penalizes hospitals that have higher-than-expected 30-day readmission rates for the three selected conditions- myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia. Although the findings suggest “no” spill-over benefit of the program on 30-day readmission among asthmatic adults, it identifies the need for multi-faceted effort incorporating measures such as quality in management of asthma patients and appropriate asthma action plans or specialist referrals during the time of discharge, thereby subsequently lead to reduction in readmission rates and healthcare costs.