The Association of Readmission Reduction Activities with Primary Care Practice Readmission Rates

Steven B. Spivack, Darren DeWalt, Jonathan Oberlander, Justin Trogdon, Nilay Shah, Ellen Meara, Morris Weinberger, Kristin Reiter, Devang Agravat, Carrie Colla, Valerie Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A great deal of research has focused on how hospitals influence readmission rates. While hospitals play a vital role in reducing readmissions, a significant portion of the work also falls to primary care practices. Despite this critical role of primary care, little empirical evidence has shown what primary care characteristics or activities are associated with reductions in hospital admissions. Objective: To examine the relationship between practices’ readmission reduction activities and their readmission rates. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective study of 1,788 practices who responded to the National Survey of Healthcare Organizations and Systems (fielded 2017–2018) and 415,663 hospital admissions for Medicare beneficiaries attributed to those practices from 2016 100% Medicare claims data. We constructed mixed-effects logistic regression models to estimate practice-level readmission rates and a linear regression model to evaluate the association between practices’ readmission rates with their number of readmission reduction activities. Interventions: Standardized composite score, ranging from 0 to 1, representing the number of a practice’s readmission reduction capabilities. The composite score was composed of 12 unique capabilities identified in the literature as being significantly associated with lower readmission rates (e.g., presence of care manager, medication reconciliation, shared-decision making, etc.). Main Outcomes and Measures: Practices’ readmission rates for attributed Medicare beneficiaries. Key Results: Routinely engaging in more readmission reduction activities was significantly associated (P <.05) with lower readmission rates. On average, practices experienced a 0.05 percentage point decrease in readmission rates for each additional activity. Average risk-standardized readmission rates for practices performing 10 or more of the 12 activities in our composite measure were a full percentage point lower than risk-standardized readmission rates for practices engaging in none of the activities. Conclusions: Primary care practices that engaged in more readmission reduction activities had lower readmission rates. These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that engaging in multiple activities, rather than any single activity, is associated with decreased readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Medicare
  • primary care
  • primary care practices
  • quality of care
  • readmission
  • readmission activities
  • readmission interventions
  • readmission reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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