Financial penalties reduce hospital readmission rates among Medicare patients

Financial penalties reduce hospital readmission rates among Medicare patients

Financial penalties effectively reduced thirty-day hospital readmission rates among Medicare beneficiaries with common conditions, according to a report published the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

As per the report, the passage of the ACA’s Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) reduced 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates among Medicare patients with conditions like pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and heart failure.

Of 2,868 hospitals processing more than 15 million patient discharges annually, overall readmissions jumped 0.5 (95 per cent) per 10,000 discharges annually before passage of the law and declined 76.6 (95 per cent) per 10,000 discharges annually after passage of the law.

Report authors wrote, “These findings are important because they suggest that implementation of the HRRP achieved its goal of accelerating reductions in hospital readmissions, particularly for the lowest-performing institutions.”

The federal government introduced HRRP in 2012 in response to the high number of Medicare patients who were readmitted to hospitals within thirty days of their initial discharge after treatment.

However, the study wasn’t without limitations, which include the researchers’ inability to distinguish between enhancements caused by the magnitude of the financial penalties and by different levels of health enhancements in different patient populations.

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