The average 30-day hospital readmission rate fell to 18.4% in calendar year 2012 from 19% during the previous five years, according to a new analysis by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That translates to about 70,000 fewer readmissions for the year, CMS said. While the report does not examine the reasons for the decline, CMS said payment reforms and other initiatives to reduce avoidable admissions may be starting to have a measureable impact. Based on claims processed to date, the average all-cause readmission rate declined from 19% to 18.4% for hospitals participating in the Partnership for Patients program, and from 19.2% to 18.6% for other hospitals, CMS said. Regional rates vary widely but have not been adjusted to account for differences in demographic factors or risk profiles, limiting the ability to make direct comparisons between different areas, CMS said.