Higher-quality patient care at the hospital has historically been thought to reduce the possibility that the same patient will be readmitted within 30 days' time. However, according to a recent study, it appears that this may not be the case. A more effective approach to readmission data may be the development of care guidelines for those suffering from different illnesses - for example, distinguishing between heart attacks, heart failure, and instances of pneumonia.
The following data was compiled from the site listed in the above article, Hospital Compare. Readmissions data between hospitals throughout California from the database download was examined, and the hospitals were compared against one another. The data was then broken down into "Heart Attack," "Heart Failure," and "Pneumonia" readmission categories.
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. This facility, part of the St. Joseph Health System, boasts several specialty areas, including heart care, joint replacement, behavioral health, and neurological rehabilitation. Its heart specialty department may well be the reason it ended up at the top of the list: it boasted the lowest readmission rate for heart attacks and the second-lowest readmission rate for heart failure.
Sutter Health. The Sutter Health System boasts two hospitals on the "Best" list. The first, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, had the second-lowest readmission rate for heart attacks in California. Sutter Lakeside Hospital enjoys the second-lowest readmission rate for pneumonia. Sutter's Northern California network offers advanced technologies in its cancer treatments and surgical techniques.
Olympia Medical Center. The only hospital that appears in all three "Worst" lists - heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia - is the Olympia Medical Center. While it didn't top any of the lists, it has the third-highest pneumonia readmission rate in the state, despite its pulmonary care specialty unit. Its appearance on this list may be due to the higher demands of its Los Angeles location.
Community Regional Medical Center. While Community Regional of Fresno does not appear in the list of California's Worst in terms of heart attacks, it leads the list in both pneumonia and heart failure. Nevertheless, it claims to be a leader in cardiovascular services, with 3,800 procedures performed annually.
Sherman Oaks Hospital. Edging Olympia off the top of the "heart attack" category by a fraction was this facility, located in Sherman Oaks. Its website claims that in most cases, emergency heart patients are seen by a physician in less than 20 minutes. The hospital offers emergency, heart care, and surgery services, in addition to others.
Studies have shown that the key to low readmissions is a combination of a number of factors: coaching patients before leaving the hospital, transitional care, communication with the patient before and after discharge, and language assistance for those who do not speak English. Finding the right placement for individuals leaving a hospital environment can also have a significant impact on reducing readmission rates.
About the Author
Christy Rakoczy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and an undergraduate degree in English Media and Communications from University of Rochester. Her career background includes teaching at the college level as well as working in the insurance and legal industries. She is currently a full-time writer who specializes in the legal, financial and healthcare sectors. Ms. Rakoczy writes online content as well as textbooks for adult learners.