Trends in the Use of Skilled Nursing Facility and Home Health Care Under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: An Interrupted Time-series Analysis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Medicare's Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals with elevated 30-day readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), or pneumonia. To reduce readmissions, hospitals may have increased referrals to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and home health care. RESEARCH DESIGN:Outcomes included 30-day postdischarge utilization of SNF and home health care, including any use as well as days of use. Subjects included Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years and older who were admitted with AMI, HF, or pneumonia to hospitals subject to the HRRP. Using an interrupted time-series analysis, we compared utilization rates observed after the announcement of the HRRP (April 2010 through September 2012) and after the imposition of penalties (October 2012 through September 2014) with projected utilization rates that accounted for pre-HRRP trends (January 2008 through March 2010). Models included patient characteristics and hospital fixed effects. RESULTS:For AMI and HF, utilization of SNF and home health care remained stable overall. For pneumonia, observed utilization of any SNF care increased modestly (1.0%, P<0.001 during anticipation; 2.4%, P<0.001 after penalties) and observed utilization of any home health care services declined modestly (-0.5%, P=0.008 after announcement; -0.7%, P=0.045 after penalties) relative to projections. Beneficiaries with AMI and pneumonia treated at penalized hospitals had higher rates of being in the community 30 days postdischarge. CONCLUSIONS:Hospitals might be shifting to more intensive postacute care to avoid readmissions among seniors with pneumonia. At the same time, penalized hospitals' efforts to prevent readmissions may be keeping higher proportions of their patients in the community.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Thirty-day readmission penalties implemented with the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) place a larger burden on safety-net hospitals which treat a disproportionate share of racial minorities, leading to concerns that already large racial disparities in readmissions could widen. OBJECTIVE:To examine whether there were changes in Black-White disparities in 30-day readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), or pneumonia following the passage and implementation of HRRP, and to compare disparities across safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals. DESIGN:Repeated cross-sectional analysis, stratified by safety-net status. SUBJECTS:1,745,686 Medicare patients over 65 discharged alive from hospitals in 5 US states: NY, FL, NE, WA, and AR. MAIN MEASURES:Odds ratios comparing 30-day readmission rates following an index admission for AMI, CHF, or pneumonia for Black and White patients between 2007 and 2014. KEY RESULTS:Prior to the passage of HRRP in 2010, Black and White readmission rates and disparities in readmissions were decreasing. These reductions were largest at safety-net hospitals. In 2007, Blacks had 13% higher odds of readmission if treated in safety-net hospitals, compared with 5% higher odds in 2010 (P?<?0.05). These trends continued following the passage of HRRP. CONCLUSIONS:Prior to HRRP, there were large reductions in Black-White disparities in readmissions at safety-net hospitals. Although HRRP tends to assess higher penalties for safety-net hospitals, improvements in readmissions have not reversed following the implementation of HRRP. In contrast, disparities continue to persist at non-safety-net hospitals which face much lower penalties.
Project description:Readmission rates declined after announcement of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals for excess readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia.To compare trends in readmission rates for target and nontarget conditions, stratified by hospital penalty status.Retrospective cohort study of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries older than 64 years discharged between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2015, from 2214 penalty hospitals and 1283 nonpenalty hospitals. Difference-interrupted time-series models were used to compare trends in readmission rates by condition and penalty status.Hospital penalty status or target condition under the HRRP.Thirty-day risk adjusted, all-cause unplanned readmission rates for target and nontarget conditions.The study included 48?137?102 hospitalizations of 20?351?161 Medicare beneficiaries. In January 2008, the mean readmission rates for AMI, HF, pneumonia, and nontarget conditions were 21.9%, 27.5%, 20.1%, and 18.4%, respectively, at hospitals later subject to financial penalties and 18.7%, 24.2%, 17.4%, and 15.7% at hospitals not subject to penalties. Between January 2008 and March 2010, prior to HRRP announcement, readmission rates were stable across hospitals (except AMI at nonpenalty hospitals). Following announcement of HRRP (March 2010), readmission rates for both target and nontarget conditions declined significantly faster for patients at hospitals later subject to financial penalties compared with those at nonpenalized hospitals (for AMI, additional decrease of -1.24 [95% CI, -1.84 to -0.65] percentage points per year relative to nonpenalty discharges; for HF, -1.25 [95% CI, -1.64 to -0.86]; for pneumonia, -1.37 [95% CI, -1.80 to -0.95]; and for nontarget conditions, -0.27 [95% CI, -0.38 to -0.17]; P?<?.001 for all). For penalty hospitals, readmission rates for target conditions declined significantly faster compared with nontarget conditions (for AMI, additional decline of -0.49 [95% CI, -0.81 to -0.16] percentage points per year relative to nontarget conditions [P?=?.004]; for HF, -0.90 [95% CI, -1.18 to -0.62; P?<?.001]; and for pneumonia, -0.57 [95% CI, -0.92 to -0.23; P?<?.001]). In contrast, among nonpenalty hospitals, readmissions for target conditions declined similarly or more slowly compared with nontarget conditions (for AMI, additional increase of 0.48 [95% CI, 0.01-0.95] percentage points per year [P?=?.05]; for HF, 0.08 [95% CI, -0.30 to 0.46; P?=?.67]; for pneumonia, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.13-0.93; P?=?.01]). After HRRP implementation in October 2012, the rate of change for readmission rates plateaued (P?<?.05 for all except pneumonia at nonpenalty hospitals), with the greatest relative change observed among hospitals subject to financial penalty.Medicare fee-for-service patients at hospitals subject to penalties under the HRRP had greater reductions in readmission rates compared with those at nonpenalized hospitals. Changes were greater for target vs nontarget conditions for patients at the penalized hospitals but not at the other hospitals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals for higher-than-expected readmission rates. Almost 20% of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) patients receive postacute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) after hospitalization. SNF patients have high readmission rates. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to investigate the association between changes in hospital referral patterns to SNFs and HRRP penalty pressure. DESIGN:We examined changes in the relationship between penalty pressure and outcomes before versus after HRRP announcement among 2698 hospitals serving 6,936,393 Medicare FFS patients admitted for target conditions: acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia. Hospital-level penalty pressure was the expected penalty rate in the first year of the HRRP multiplied by Medicare discharge share. OUTCOMES:Informal integration measured by the percentage of referrals to hospitals' most referred SNF; formal integration measured by SNF acquisition; readmission-based quality index of the SNFs to which a hospital referred discharged patients; referral rate to any SNF. RESULTS:Hospitals facing the median level of penalty pressure had modest differential increases of 0.3 percentage points in the proportion of referrals to the most referred SNF and a 0.006 SD increase in the average quality index of SNFs referred to. There were no statistically significant differential increases in formal acquisition of SNFs or referral rate to SNF. CONCLUSIONS:HRRP did not prompt substantial changes in hospital referral patterns to SNFs, although readmissions for patients referred to SNF differentially decreased more than for other patients, warranting investigation of other mechanisms underlying readmissions reduction.
Project description:Importance:The strongest evidence for the effectiveness of Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) involves greater reductions in readmissions for hospitals receiving penalties compared with those not receiving penalties. However, the HRRP penalty is an imperfect measure of hospitals' marginal incentive to avoid a readmission for HRRP-targeted diagnoses. Objectives:To assess the association between hospitals' condition-specific incentives and readmission performance and to examine the responsiveness of hospitals to condition-specific incentives compared with aggregate penalty amounts. Design, Setting, and Participants:This retrospective cohort analysis used Medicare readmissions data from 2823 US short-term acute care hospitals participating in HRRP to compare 3-year (fiscal years 2016-2019) follow-up readmission performance according to tertiles of hospitals' baseline (2016) marginal incentives for each of 5 HRRP-targeted conditions (acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and hip and/or knee surgery). Main Outcomes and Measures:Linear regression models were used to estimate mean change in follow-up readmission performance, measured using the excess readmissions ratio, with baseline condition-specific incentives and aggregate penalty amounts. Results:Of 2823 hospitals that participated in the HRRP from baseline to follow-up, 2280 (81%) had more than 1 excess readmission for 1 or more applicable condition and 543 (19%) did not have any excess readmissions. The mean (SD) financial incentive to reduce readmissions for incentivized hospitals ranged from $8762 ($3699) to $58?158 ($26?198) per 1 avoided readmission. Hospitals with greater incentives for readmission avoidance had greater decreases in readmissions compared with hospitals with smaller incentives (45% greater for pneumonia, 172% greater for acute myocardial infarction, 40% greater for hip and/or knee surgery, 32% greater for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 13% greater for heart failure), whereas hospitals with no incentives had increases in excess readmissions of 4% to 7% (median, 4% [percentage change for nonincentivized hospitals was 3.7% for pneumonia, 4.2% for acute myocardial infarction, 7.1% for hip and/or knee surgery, 3.7% for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 3.7% for heart failure]; P?<?.001). During the study period, each additional $5000 in the incentive amount was associated with a 0.6- to 1.3-percentage point decrease, or up to a 26% decrease, in excess readmissions (P?<?.001). Regression to the mean explained approximately one-third of the results depending on the condition examined. Conclusions and Relevance:The findings suggest that improvements in readmission avoidance are more strongly associated with incentives from the HRRP than with aggregate penalty amounts, suggesting that the program has elicited sizeable changes. Worsened performance among hospitals with small or no incentives may indicate the need for reconsideration of the program's lack of financial rewards for high-performing hospitals.
Project description:Importance:The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services policy that levies hospital reimbursement penalties based on excess readmissions of patients with 4 medical conditions and 3 surgical procedures. A greater understanding of factors associated with the 3 surgical reimbursement penalties is needed for clinicians in surgical practice. Objective:To investigate the first year of HRRP readmission penalties applied to 2 surgical procedures-elective total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA)-in the context of hospital and patient characteristics. Design, Setting, and Participants:Fiscal year 2015 HRRP penalization data from Hospital Compare were linked with the American Hospital Association Annual Survey and with the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Database for hospitals in the state of Florida. By using a case-control framework, those hospitals were separated based on HRRP penalty severity, as measured with the HRRP THA and TKA excess readmission ratio, and compared according to orthopedic volume as well as hospital-level and patient-level characteristics. The first year of HRRP readmission penalties applied to surgery in Florida Medicare subsection (d) hospitals was examined, identifying 60?663 Medicare patients who underwent elective THA or TKA in 143 Florida hospitals. The data analysis was conducted from February 2016 to January 2017. Exposures:Annual hospital THA and TKA volume, other hospital-level characteristics, and patient factors used in HRRP risk adjustment. Main Outcomes and Measures:The HRRP penalties with HRRP excess readmission ratios were measured, and their association with annual THA and TKA volume, a common measure of surgical quality, was evaluated. The HRRP penalties for surgical care according to hospital and readmitted patient characteristics were then examined. Results:Among 143 Florida hospitals, 2991 of 60?663 Medicare patients (4.9%) who underwent THA or TKA were readmitted within 30 days. Annual hospital arthroplasty volume seemed to follow an inverse association with both unadjusted readmission rates (r?=?-0.16, P?=?.06) and HRRP risk-adjusted readmission penalties (r?=?-0.12, P?=?.14), but these associations were not statistically significant. Other hospital characteristics and readmitted patient characteristics were similar across HRRP orthopedic penalty severity. Conclusions and Relevance:This study's findings suggest that higher-volume hospitals had less severe, but not significantly different, rates of readmission and HRRP penalties, without systematic differences across readmitted patients.
Project description:Importance:The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) has disproportionately penalized hospitals that treat many black patients, which could worsen health outcomes in this population. Objective:To determine whether short-term mortality rates increased among black and white adults 65 years and older after initiation of the HRRP and whether trends differed by race. Design, Setting, and Participants:In a cohort study using an interrupted time-series analysis conducted from March 15, 2018, to January 23, 2019, in 3263 eligible acute care hospitals nationally, risk-adjusted mortality rates observed after Medicare started to impose penalties (October 1, 2012, to November 30, 2014) were compared with projections based on pre-HRRP trends (January 1, 2007, to March 31, 2010) among adults 65 years and older with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), or pneumonia. Observed-to-projected differences were then compared between racial groups. Exposures:Hospital discharge during pre-HRRP and HRRP penalty periods. Main Outcomes and Measures:Thirty-day postdischarge all-cause mortality. Results:In the 3263 acute care hospitals included in the analysis, black patients (627 373 index discharges) were more likely than white patients (5 845 130 index discharges) to be younger (mean [SD] age, 77.8 [8.3] vs 80.5 [8.2] years; P < .001), women (60.5% vs 53.7%; P < .001), dually covered by Medicare and Medicaid (45.7% vs 17.2%; P < .001), and treated at a penalized hospital (AMI, 82.8%; HF, 83.8%; and pneumonia, 82.6% vs 69.6%; 73.3%; and 71.7%; all P < .001). Pre-HRRP mortality rates for black vs white patients were 7.04% (95% CI, 6.75% to 7.33%) vs 7.47% (95% CI, 7.37% to 7.57%) for AMI, 6.69% (95% CI, 6.56% to 6.82%) vs 8.56% (95% CI, 8.48% to 8.64%) for HF, and 8.08% (95% CI, 7.88% to 8.27%) vs 8.27% (95% CI, 8.19% to 8.35%) for pneumonia. By the HRRP penalty period, observed mortality for AMI decreased more, relative to projections, among black than white patients (difference-in-differences, -1.65 percentage points; 95% CI, -3.19 to -0.10; P = .04). For HF, mortality increased relative to projections among white patients but not among black patients; however; mortality trends did not differ by race (difference-in-differences, -0.37 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.08 to 0.34; P = .31). For pneumonia, observed mortality was similar to projections in both racial groups, and trends did not differ by race (difference-in-differences, -0.54 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.66 to 0.59; P = .35). At both penalized and nonpenalized hospitals, mortality trends were similar or decreased more among black patients than white patients. Conclusions and Relevance:In this study of patients 65 years and older, short-term postdischarge mortality did not appear to increase for black patients under the HRRP, suggesting that certain value-based payment policies can be implemented without harming black populations. However, mortality seemed to increase for white patients with HF and this situation warrants investigation.
Project description:<h4>Importance</h4>The US Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was associated with reduced readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia. It is important to assess whether there has been a signal for concomitant harm with an increase in mortality.<h4>Objective</h4>To evaluate whether the announcement or the implementation of HRRP was associated with an increase in either in-hospital or 30-day postdischarge mortality following hospitalization for AMI, HF, or pneumonia.<h4>Design, setting, and participants</h4>In this cohort study, using Medicare data, all hospitalizations for AMI, HF, and pneumonia were identified among fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2014. These were assessed for changes in trends for risk-adjusted rates of in-hospital and 30-day postdischarge mortality after announcement and implementation of the HRRP using an interrupted time series framework. Analyses were done in November 2017 and December 2017.<h4>Exposures</h4>Announcement of the HRRP in March 2010, and implementation of its penalties in October 2012.<h4>Main outcomes and measures</h4>Monthly risk-adjusted rates of in-hospital and 30-day postdischarge mortality.<h4>Results</h4>The sample included 1.7 million AMI, 4 million HF, and 3.5 million pneumonia hospitalizations. Between 2006 and 2014, in-hospital mortality decreased for the 3 conditions (AMI, from 10.4% to 9.7%; HF, from 4.3% to 3.5%; pneumonia, from 5.3% to 4.0%) while 30-day postdischarge mortality decreased from 7.4% to 7.0% for AMI (P for trend?<?.001), but increased from 7.4% to 9.2% for HF (P for trend?<?.001) and from 7.6% to 8.6% for pneumonia (P for trend?<?.001). Before the HRRP announcement, monthly postdischarge mortality was stable for AMI (slope for monthly change, 0.002%; 95% CI, -0.001% to 0.006% per month), and increased by 0.004% (95% CI, 0.000% to 0.007%) per month for HF and by 0.005% (95% CI, 0.002% to 0.008%) per month for pneumonia. There were no inflections in slope around HRRP announcement or implementation (P?>?.05 for all). In contrast, there were significant negative deflections in slopes for readmission rates at HRRP announcement for all conditions.<h4>Conclusions and relevance</h4>Among Medicare beneficiaries, there was no evidence for an increase in in-hospital or postdischarge mortality associated with HRRP announcement or implementation-a period with substantial reductions in readmissions. The improvement in readmission was therefore not associated with any increase in in-hospital or 30-day postdischarge mortality.
Project description:Importance:Medicare is experimenting with numerous concurrent reforms aimed at improving quality and value for hospitals. It is unclear if these myriad reforms are mutually reinforcing or in conflict with each other. Objective:To evaluate whether hospital participation in voluntary value-based reforms was associated with greater improvement under Medicare's Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP). Design, Setting, and Participants:Retrospective, longitudinal study using publicly available national data from Hospital Compare on hospital readmissions for 2837 hospitals from 2008 to 2015. We assessed hospital participation in 3 voluntary value-based reforms: Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records; the Bundled Payment for Care Initiative episode-based payment program (BPCI); and Medicare's Pioneer and Shared Savings accountable care organization (ACO) programs. We used an interrupted time series design to test whether hospitals' time-varying participation in these value-based reforms was associated with greater improvement in Medicare's HRRP. Main Outcomes and Measures:Thirty-day risk standardized readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, and pneumonia. Results:Among the 2837 hospitals in this study, participation in value-based reforms varied considerably over the study period. In 2010, no hospitals were participating in the meaningful use, ACO, or BPCI programs. By 2015, only 56 hospitals were not participating in at least 1 of these programs. Among hospitals that did not participate in any voluntary reforms, the association between the HRRP and 30-day readmission was -0.76 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -0.93 to -0.60), -1.30 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.47 to -1.13), and -0.82 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -0.97 to -0.67). Participation in the meaningful use program alone was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -0.78 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -0.89 to -0.67), -0.97 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.08 to -0.86), and -0.56 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -0.65 to -0.47). Participation in ACO programs alone was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -0.94 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -1.29 to -0.59), -0.83 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -1.26 to -0.41), and -0.59 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -1.00 to -0.18). Participation in multiple reforms led to greater improvement: participation in all 3 programs was associated with an additional change in 30-day readmissions of -1.27 percentage points for AMI (95% CI, -1.58 to -0.97), -1.64 percentage points for heart failure (95% CI, -2.02 to -1.26), and -1.05 percentage points for pneumonia (95% CI, -1.32 to -0.78). Conclusions and Relevance:Hospital participation in voluntary value-based reforms was associated with greater reductions in readmissions. Our findings lend support for Medicare's multipronged strategy to improve hospital quality and value.
Project description:Background:Whether hospitals with the highest risk-standardized readmission rates (RSRRs) subsequently experienced the greatest improvement after passage of the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is unknown. Objective:To evaluate whether passage of the HRRP was followed by acceleration in improvement in 30-day RSRRs after hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (CHF), or pneumonia and whether the lowest-performing hospitals had faster acceleration in improvement after passage of the law than hospitals that were already performing well. Design:Pre-post analysis stratified by hospital performance groups. Setting:U.S. acute care hospitals. Patients:15 170 008 Medicare patients discharged alive from 2000 to 2013. Intervention:Passage of the HRRP. Measurements:30-day readmission rates after hospitalization for AMI, CHF, or pneumonia for hospitals in the highest-performance (0% penalty), average-performance (>0% and <0.50% penalty), low-performance (?0.50% and <0.99% penalty), and lowest-performance (?0.99% penalty) groups. Results:Of 2868 hospitals serving 1 109 530 Medicare discharges annually, 30.1% were highest performers, 44.0% were average performers, 16.8% were low performers, and 9.0% were lowest performers. After controlling for prelaw trends, an additional 67.6 (95% CI, 66.6 to 68.4), 74.8 (CI, 74.0 to 75.4), 85.4 (CI, 84.0 to 86.8), and 95.1 (CI, 92.6 to 97.5) readmissions per 10 000 discharges were found to have been averted per year in the highest-, average-, low-, and lowest-performance groups, respectively, after passage of the law. Limitation:Inability to distinguish between improvement caused by the magnitude of the penalty or by different levels of health improvement in different patient populations. Conclusion:After passage of the HRRP, 30-day RSRRs for myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia decreased more rapidly than before the law's passage. Improvement was most marked for hospitals with the lowest prelaw performance. Primary Funding Source:National Institutes of Health.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To explore the impact of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) on hospitals serving vulnerable populations. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Medicare inpatient claims to calculate condition-specific readmission rates. Medicare cost reports and other sources to determine a hospital's share of duals, profit margin, and characteristics. STUDY DESIGN: Regression analyses and projections were used to estimate risk-adjusted readmission rates and financial penalties under the HRRP. Findings were compared across groups of hospitals, determined based on their share of duals, to assess differential impacts of the HRRP. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Both patient dual-eligible status and a hospital's dual-eligible share of Medicare discharges have a positive impact on risk-adjusted hospital readmission rates. Under current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service methodology, which does not adjust for socioeconomic status, high-dual hospitals are more likely to have excess readmissions than low-dual hospitals. As a result, HRRP penalties will disproportionately fall on high-dual hospitals, which are more likely to have negative all-payer margins, raising concerns of unintended consequences of the program for vulnerable populations. CONCLUSIONS: Policies to reduce hospital readmissions must balance the need to ensure continued access to quality care for vulnerable populations.