Journal Article

Readmission rates after passage of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: a pre–post analysis.

Wasfy JH, Zigler CM, Choirat C, et al. Annals of internal medicine. 2017;166:324-331.

Reducing hospital readmissions is an important patient safety objective. This pre–post study examined rates of hospital readmissions before and after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) enacted its nonpayment policy. Investigators separated hospitals into tiers of performance, considering hospitals with lowest readmission rates to be the highest performers. They found that across all levels of hospital performance, readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia decreased after the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program was introduced. Hospitals with the lowest performance prior to the nonpayment policy improved the most. These data are consistent with previous studies demonstrating the profound safety improvement following CMS nonpayment policies. A previous WebM&M interview discussed the potential benefits and limitations of insurers not paying for preventable complications.