From Health Affairs:
Safety-Net Hospitals Reduce Thirty-Day Readmission Rates But Still Lag Behind
Bethesda, MD—In 2013 the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), an initiative of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), authorized the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to penalize hospitals for thirty-day readmission rates exceeding the national average.
Safety-net hospital patients, who frequently lack access to primary care and other support, have a higher chance of readmission. As a result, policy makers have called for modifications in the HRRP to remove a perceived unfair burden on safety-net hospitals. A new study, released as a Web First by Health Affairs, compared thirty-day readmission rates of safety-net hospitals and other hospitals for fiscal years 2013 and 2016. Three conditions were evaluated: heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. According to the study, readmission rates during that time declined more at safety-net hospitals than at other hospitals in the overall sample for each condition (see exhibit below), with heart attack readmissions declining 2.86 percentage points at safety-net hospitals, compared to 2.64 percentage points at other hospitals.