Efforts to reduce hospital readmissions are working, but they don’t always save money, according to a review of 50 quality improvement studies published yesterday by JAMA Internal Medicine. The quality improvement interventions examined reduced readmissions by an average 12.1% for heart failure patients and 6.3% for older adults with diverse health issues, but their economic impact to the health systems varied from average net savings of $972 per person among heart failure patients to average net losses of $169 per person among other patients. “Our findings suggest that there is no guarantee of net cost savings once the implementation costs associated with efforts to prevent readmissions are considered,” said lead author Teryl Nuckols, M.D., director of the division of general internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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