Impact of socioeconomic status measures on hospital profiling in New York City

Alexander B Blum, Natalia N Egorova, Eugene A Sosunov, Annetine C Gelijns, Erin DuPree, Alan J Moskowitz, Alex D Federman, Deborah D Ascheim, Salomeh Keyhani
Circulation. Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2014, 7 (3): 391-7

BACKGROUND: Current 30-day readmission models used by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the purpose of hospital-level comparisons lack measures of socioeconomic status (SES). We examined whether the inclusion of an SES measure in 30-day congestive heart failure readmission models changed hospital risk-standardized readmission rates in New York City (NYC) hospitals.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Using a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-like model, we estimated 30-day hospital-level risk-standardized readmission rates by adjusting for age, sex, and comorbid conditions. Next, we examined how hospital risk-standardized readmission rates changed relative to the NYC mean with inclusion of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-validated SES index score. In a secondary analysis, we examined whether inclusion of the AHRQ SES index score in 30-day readmission models disproportionately impacted the risk-standardized readmission rates of minority-serving hospitals. Higher AHRQ SES scores, indicators of higher SES, were associated with lower odds (0.99) of 30-day readmission (P<0.019). The addition of the AHRQ SES index did not change the model's C statistic (0.63). After adjustment for the AHRQ SES index, 1 hospital changed status from worse than the NYC average to no different than the NYC average. After adjustment for the AHRQ SES index, 1 NYC minority-serving hospital was reclassified from worse to no different than average.

CONCLUSIONS: Although patients with higher SES were less likely to be admitted, the impact of SES on readmission was small. In NYC, inclusion of the AHRQ SES score in a CMS-based model did not impact hospital-level profiling based on 30-day readmission.

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