Massachusetts Health Reform Did Not Impact Heart Failure Readmission Rates

The 2006 Massachusetts healthcare reform law did not significantly reduce overall heart attack readmission rates or reduce gaps in readmission rates between minorities and whites, according to an analysis presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers examined discharge data from 2004 to 2009 and 30-day readmission rates for heart attack by age, race and ethnicity. Patients were divided by age ― 18-64 years old (most affected by reform) and 65 and older (least affected).

 



The post-reform decrease in readmissions was similar in younger patients and older patients. For patients 18-64, pre- and post-reform heart attack readmission rates were 11.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, and for those 65 and older, 24.0 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively. In addition, African-Americans under age 65 had higher readmission rates than whites, before and after reform, and rates between non-elderly and elderly adults, divided by race and ethnicity, were unaffected.

This suggests that the law has not significantly affected heart attack readmission rates by age or the difference in heart attack readmission rates by race, the researchers said.

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