Predictors of 30-day readmission following inpatient rehabilitation for patients at high risk for hospital readmission

Steve R. Fisher, James E. Graham, Shilpa Krishnan, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. The proposed Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 30-day readmission risk standardization models for inpatient rehabilitation facilities establish readmission risk for patients at admission based on a limited set of core variables. Considering functional recovery during the rehabilitation stay may help clinicians further stratify patient groups at high risk for hospital readmission. Objective. The purpose of this study was to identify variables in the full administrative medical record, particularly in regard to physical function, that could help clinicians further discriminate between patients who are and are not likely to be readmitted to an acute care hospital within 30 days of rehabilitation discharge. Design. This study used an observational cohort with a 30-day follow-up of Medicare patients who were deconditioned and had medically complex diagnoses and who were receiving postacute inpatient rehabilitation in 2010 to 2011. Methods. Patients in the highest risk quartile for readmission (N=25,908) were selected based on the CMS risk prediction model. Hierarchical generalized linear models were built to compare the relative effectiveness of motor functional status ratings in predicting 30-day readmission. Classification and regression tree analysis was used to create a hierarchical order among predictors based on variable importance in classifying patients based on readmission status. Results. Approximately 34% of patients in the high-risk quartile were readmitted within 30 days. Functional outcomes and rehabilitation length of stay were the best predictors of 30-day rehospitalization. A 3-variable algorithm classified 4 clinical subgroups with readmission probabilities ranging from 28% to 75%. Limitations. Although planned readmissions were accounted for in the outcome, potentially preventable readmissions were not distinguished from unpreventable readmissions. Conclusion. For older patients who are deconditioned and have medically complex diagnoses admitted to postacute inpatient rehabilitation, information on functional status measures that are easily monitored by health care providers may improve plans for care transition and reduce the risk of hospital readmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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