Even as the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries among adults age 50-plus rose dramatically between 2009 and 2013, the hospital readmission rates following these procedures fell by 20% or more. According to a new AARP Public Policy Institute report, the primary driver for this drop was a substantial reduction in hospital readmissions among adults ages 65 to 84. This is the first study to look at the impact of the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) on unplanned hospital readmissions following joint replacement surgeries.
Joint replacement surgery was the most common hospital procedure covered by Medicare in 2013, accounting for nearly 450,000 inpatient admissions. The two most common reasons for hospital readmissions after knee or hip replacement surgery were complications from the joint implants and complications from the surgery itself. As more Americans age, the rate of these procedures is expected to rise dramatically.