There are many contributing factors that determine whether a patient will be readmitted to a Boston hospital. Although the patient’s particular medical situation is one of the most crucial factors in a patient’s readmission, other factors such as medical malpractice can also impact readmissions. There are studies which indicate that readmissions and increased hospital times may impact the likelihood that a patient will be a victim of medical negligence so readmission is not desirable for many patients.

Kaiser Health News recently reported that seven hospitals have the nation’s highest readmission rates. One of these hospitals is Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The hospital had among the highest national readmission rates for patients suffering from heart attack, pneumonia, or heart failure.

A high readmission rate is relevant for a variety of reasons and hospitals will feel the pressure to improve readmission rates because Medicare is planning to start withholding its reimbursements to hospitals such as Beth Israel that have unusually high rates.

Fortunately Beth Israel does not also share the distinction of having one of the highest mortality rates in the country. Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb and Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C. had the highest mortality rates for heart attack, pneumonia patients, and heart failure whereas 38 hospitals had high mortality rates in two of the three categories which Medicare tracks.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services is helping to provide Boston patients with more information on the quality of their hospitals. Patients can now look up readmission rates for Boston hospitals on the HHS “Hospital Compare” website under the tab “Outcomes of Care.”

Source: Kaiser Health News, “Seven Hospitals Share Distinction Of Highest Readmission Rates,” Jordan Rau, Aug. 9, 2011