Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 6, P1060-1066, June 2018

Geographic Region and Profit Status Drive Variation in Hospital Readmission Outcomes Among Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities in the United States

Published:December 21, 2017DOI:



      To examine whether there are differences in inpatient rehabilitation facilities' (IRFs') all-cause 30-day postdischarge hospital readmission rates vary by organizational characteristics and geographic regions.


      Observational study.




      Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries discharged from all IRFs nationally in 2013 and 2014 (N = 1166 IRFs).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      We applied specifications for an existing quality measure adopted by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for public reporting that assesses all-cause unplanned hospital readmission measure for 30 days postdischarge from inpatient rehabilitation. We estimated facility-level observed and risk-standardized readmission rates and then examined variation by several organizational characteristics (facility type, profit status, teaching status, proportion of low-income patients, size) and geographic factors (rural/urban, census division, state).


      IRFs’ mean risk-standardized hospital readmission rate was 13.00%±0.77%. After controlling for organizational characteristics and practice patterns, we found substantial variation in IRFs' readmission rates: for-profit IRFs had significantly higher readmission rates than did not-for-profit IRFs (P<.001). We also found geographic variation: IRFs in the South Atlantic and South Central census regions had the highest hospital readmission rates than did IRFs in New England that had the lowest rates.


      Our findings point to variation in quality of care as measured by risk-standardized hospital readmission rates after IRF discharge. Thus, monitoring of readmission outcomes is important to encourage quality improvement in discharge care planning, care transitions, and follow-up.


      List of abbreviations:

      CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), FFS (Fee-for-service), IRF (Inpatient rehabilitation facility), PAC (Post-acute care), RSRR (Risk-standardized readmission rate)
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