Reducing excess readmissions: promising effect of hospital readmissions reduction program in US hospitals

Ning Lu, Kuo-Cherh Huang, James A Johnson
International Journal for Quality in Health Care 2016, 28 (1): 53-8

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the financial penalty effect of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) on 30-day inpatient readmissions for pneumonia (PN), acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and heart failure (HF) among hospitals identified as having excess readmissions.

SETTING: Short-term, acute care hospitals in the USA.

DESIGN: Secondary data analysis of publicly available HRRP Supplemental Data to examine the effect of HRRP on reducing excess hospital readmissions by utilizing repeated-measures analysis of variance models.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 3395 nonfederal, short-term acute care hospitals under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System that are subject to the HRRP program and that reported discharges data for PN, AMI and HF for the calculation of readmission ratios for the fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

INTERVENTION: Implementation of the HRRP in October 2012 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce Medicare payments to hospitals with excess readmissions.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thirty-day hospital readmission ratios for PN, AMI and HF.

RESULTS: There was a significant decrease in excess readmissions for PN, AMI and HF between FY 2013 and FY 2015. The reduction in excess readmission ratios was 0.035 for PN (P < 0.001), 0.082 for AMI (P < 0.001) and 0.034 for HF (P < 0.001). The effect of HRRP on excess readmissions was greater for small hospitals, public hospitals and hospitals located in rural areas.

CONCLUSIONS: HRRP to reduce payments to hospitals with excess readmissions had a significant effect on the inpatient readmissions for PN, AMI and HF in US Hospitals.

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