Report: Hospital Readmission Rates Are Too High | Despite the threat of looming financial penalties, hospitals have made little headway to reduce the rate of hospital readmissions, according to Medicare data. One in five Medicare patients returns to a hospital within a month of being discharged. Starting in October, Medicare will penalize hospitals with higher than expected readmission rates — as a result of a provision of Obamacare that seeks to encourage hospitals to deliver more quality care and reduce health care costs. The Obama administration is giving $500 million in grants to “help hospitals and other health-care providers improve the transitions of patients out of hospitals,” according to Kaiser Health News. But some hospitals are critical of the guidelines, saying Medicare doesn’t consider if patients are intentionally readmitted or return for an unrelated issue.