New research using CMS data is confirming the relationship between quality care and lower readmission rates.

Researchers studied readmissions of more than 2.7 million Medicare patients over age 65, treated at more than 4,700 hospitals between 2014 and 2015. They found that hospitals in the highest performance quartile for quality had significantly lower 30-day readmission rates than those in the lowest quartile.

Those with the lowest quality scores had a readmission rate of about 25%, while the highest performers had a readmission rate of about 23%, according to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine(The report’s abstract is available online at:

“An absolute difference of two percentage points may seem to be small relative to the overall readmission risk, but it indicates that for every 50 patients who are admitted to a hospital in the lowest-performing quartile rather than in the highest-performing quartile, there is one additional readmission,” the report says.

There was no statistically significant difference in other quartile comparisons and the median readmission rate was about 15%, the researchers found.