Readmission Rates Vary Little Among Primary Care Doctors

One of 4,230 PCPs had readmission rate that was significantly above the mean

MONDAY, May 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There is minimal variation in readmission rates among primary care providers (PCPs), according to a study published online May 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Siddhartha Singh, M.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine whether 30-day readmission rates vary by PCP in Texas. Data were included for patients discharged alive between Jan. 1, 2008, and Nov. 30, 2015, who had an identifiable PCP in the previous year and whose PCP had 50 admissions or more during the study period.

The researchers found that the mean risk-standardized rate of 30-day readmissions was 12.9 percent between 2012 and 2015. One of the 4,230 PCPs had a readmission rate that was significantly higher than the mean, and none had a significantly lower rate. The 10th and 90th percentiles of PCP readmission were 12.4 and 13.4 percent, respectively (each only 0.5 percent different from the mean). The 99th percentile of readmission rates was 1.1 percent above the mean at 14.0 percent. More than 3,500 admissions per PCP per year would be required to detect a 1.1 percent difference from the mean adjusted readmission rate.

"This study shows negligible variation in readmission rates among PCPs when patient characteristics are controlled for," the authors write. "Pay-for-performance programs to reduce readmissions on the basis of variation in readmission rates among PCPs may not be effective."

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