Safety-Net Hospitals Show Improvement With Medicare’s HRRP

HealthDay News — Thirty-day readmissions at safety-net hospitals has been reduced with Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), according to a study published in Health Affairs.1

Kathleen Carey, PhD, from the School of Public Health at Boston University, and Meng-Yun Lin, from the Boston Medical Center, examined whether HRRP has been an effective tool for reducing 30-day readmissions in safety-net hospitals.

The researchers found that these hospitals reduced readmissions for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia by 2.86%, 2.78%, and 1.77% points, respectively, in the first 3 years of the program. Furthermore, they reduced the disparity between their readmission rates and those of other hospitals.

“This study was an early investigation of the issue, based on readmission rates in the initial years of the HRRP, and the improvements we observed may reflect the program’s success in picking low-hanging fruit,” the authors write. “It will be important to continue to monitor the performance of safety-net hospitals under the HRRP.”

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  1. Carey K, Lin MY. Hospital readmissions reduction program: safety-net hospitals show improvement, modifications to penalty formula still needed. Health Aff (Millwood). 2016. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.0537.