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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program penalizes hospitals for excess 30-day hospital readmissions. Readmission reduction efforts have focused on patient-level factors. Whether organizational factors contribute to readmission risk is largely unknown. Intensive care unit (ICU) survivors are particularly at risk for hospital readmissions. ICU capacity strain, when demand for ICU resources exceeds availability, is associated with short-term ICU patient outcomes. However, most ICU survivors are transferred to general wards prior to hospital discharge and are therefore subjected to ward-level exposures that could impact readmission risk.

Our objective was to determine if ward capacity strain on the last day of hospitalization is associated with increased 30-day hospital readmission rates, as pressures on staff and resources may impede optimal discharge planning for complex patients.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute