Publicizing hospital readmission rates has done little to affect patient outcomes, study finds

The CMS public reporting of hospital readmission rates has had no measurable impact on 30-day readmission trends for patients with myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

CMS began publicly reporting 30-day hospital readmissions in 2009.The study examined Medicare claims from 2006 to 2012 for patients discharged after hospitalization. The dataset included 37,829 hospitalizations for MI, 100,189 for heart failure and 79,076 for pneumonia, spread spread over 4,000 hospitals. The researchers assessed trends in 30-day all-cause readmissions and post-discharge care by utilizing regression models.

While there were marginal improvements in adjusted readmission rates for each affliction category, when comparing this data with trends extant prior to CMS public reporting, there was no statistically significant correlation.

For heart failure there were reductions in emergency department visits and for observation stays.

The authors said the conclusive takeaway from the study is a lack of connection between the CMS policy of reporting hospital readmission rates and changes in readmission rate trends in regards to the morbidities featured in the study.

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