Tuesday, October 23, 2012 Nonmedical Factors Associated With Readmissions New research shows that age, race, employment status, living situation, and education and income levels are just some of the factors that may play a role in hospital readmissions. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is not taking these causes into account in its readmissions reduction program, which started penalizing hospitals October 1 for excessive readmissions, says an article by Reuters News. In the study, published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed data from 20 studies on pneumonia and 52 on heart failure. For pneumonia patients, among the factors linked to the risk of being readmitted to the hospital were being older and not white. Having a low level of education, low income, and being unemployed also were tied to a higher risk of going back into the hospital. For heart failure patients, the risk of being readmitted to a hospital was associated with being elderly, African American, or Hispanic. The researchers cannot say for certain that the risk factors identified are what cause a patient to be readmitted to the hospital. But they note in their report that this kind of information could be used by physicians, case managers, and discharge planners "to flag patients at high risk of readmission because of certain nonmedical vulnerabilities," says Reuters. Visit APTA's hospital readmissions webpage for information about how physical therapists can help reduce readmissions by providing recommendations for the most appropriate level of care to the health care team prior to and during care transitions.