Use of a Computerized Algorithm to Evaluate the Proportion and Causes of Potentially Preventable Readmissions Among Patients Discharged to Skilled Nursing Facilities

Anupam Chandra, Paul Y. Takahashi, Rozalina G. McCoy, Gregory J. Hanson, Rajeev Chaudhry, Curtis B. Storlie, Daniel L. Roellinger, Parvez A. Rahman, James M. Naessens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Older patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for post-acute care are at high risk for hospital readmission. Yet, as in the community setting, some readmissions may be preventable with optimal transitional care. This study examined the proportion of 30-day hospital readmissions from SNFs that could be considered potentially preventable readmissions (PPRs) and evaluated the reasons for these readmissions. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting and Participants: Post-acute practice of an integrated health care delivery system serving 11 SNFs in the US Midwest. Patients discharged from the hospital to an SNF and subsequently readmitted to the hospital within 30 days from January 1, 2009, through November 31, 2016. Methods: A computerized algorithm evaluated the relationship between initial and repeat hospitalizations to determine whether the repeat hospitalization was a PPR. We assessed for changes in PPR rates across the system over the study period and evaluated the readmission categories to identify the most prevalent PPR categories. Results: Of 11,976 discharges to SNFs for post-acute care among 8041 patients over the study period, 16.6% resulted in rehospitalization within 30 days, and 64.8% of these rehospitalizations were considered PPRs. Annual proportion of PPRs ranged from 58.2% to 66.4% [mean (standard deviation) 0.65 (0.03); 95% confidence interval CI 0.63-0.67; P = .36], with no discernable trend. Nearly one-half (46.2%) of all 30-day readmissions were classified as potentially preventable medical readmissions related to recurrence or continuation of the reason for initial admission or to complications from the initial hospitalization. Conclusions and Implications: For this cohort of patients discharged to SNFs, a computerized algorithm categorized a large proportion of 30-day hospital readmissions as potentially preventable, with nearly one-half of those linked to the reason for the initial hospitalization. These findings indicate the importance of improvement in postdischarge transitional care for patients discharged to SNFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1066
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Post-acute care
  • preventable hospital readmission
  • skilled nursing facility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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