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Am J Med. 2012 Jan;125(1):100.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.06.011.

Skilled nursing facility referral and hospital readmission rates after heart failure or myocardial infarction.

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  • 1Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



Substantial hospital-level variation in the risk of readmission after hospitalization for heart failure (HF) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been reported. Prior studies have documented considerable state-level variation in rates of discharge to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), but evaluation of hospital-level variation in SNF rates and its relationship to hospital-level readmission rates is limited.


Hospital-level 30-day all-cause risk-standardized readmission rates (RSRRs) were calculated using claims data for fee-for-service Medicare patients hospitalized with a principal diagnosis of HF or AMI from 2006-2008. Medicare claims were used to calculate rates of discharge to SNF following HF-specific or AMI-specific admissions in hospitals with ≥25 HF or AMI patients, respectively. Weighted regression was used to quantify the relationship between RSRRs and SNF rates for each condition.


Mean RSRR following HF admission among 4101 hospitals was 24.7%, and mean RSRR after AMI admission among 2453 hospitals was 19.9%. Hospital-level SNF rates ranged from 0% to 83.8% for HF and from 0% to 77.8% for AMI. No significant relationship between RSRR after HF and SNF rate was found in adjusted regression models (P=.15). RSRR after AMI increased by 0.03 percentage point for each 1 absolute percentage point increase in SNF rate in adjusted regression models (P=.001). Overall, HF and AMI SNF rates explained <1% and 4% of the variation for their respective RSRRs.


SNF rates after HF or AMI hospitalization vary considerably across hospitals, but explain little of the variation in 30-day all-cause readmission rates for these conditions.

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