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Case Study


Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Lessons from Top-Performing Hospitals

Significant variability in 30-day readmission rates across U.S. hospitals suggests that some are more successful than others at providing safe, high-quality inpatient care and promoting smooth transitions to follow-up care. This report offers a synthesis of findings from four case studies of hospitals with exceptionally low readmission rates—McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah; Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, Texas; Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, Missouri. Hospitals' environments contribute to their capacity to reduce readmissions. The four hospitals studied are influenced by the policy environment, their local health care markets, their membership in integrated systems that offer a continuum of care, and the priorities set by their leaders.

This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.

Publication Details



S. Silow-Carroll, J. N. Edwards, and A. Lashbrook, Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Lessons from Top-Performing Hospitals, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2011.