During the past decade and a half, readmissions increased substantially
as a proportion of all admissions to state mental hospitals, and the
absolute number of readmissions appeared to rise. These trends were
interpreted widely, but incorrectly, as reflecting an accelerated rate of
return to the hospitals by discharge patients. Most of the rise in the
readmission percentage in New York State mental health facilities was due
to a drop in first admissions, and the apparent increase in the number of
readmissions was entirely accounted for by several statistical artifacts.
There was no appreciable increase in the rate of patients'
rehospitalization within given periods of time after their release.