Association of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program implementation with readmission and mortality outcomes in heart failure.
Readmissions are a focus of patient safety efforts, especially in light of Medicare's nonpayment policy. This retrospective, interrupted time-series analysis examined whether reduction in readmissions for heart failure led to any change in health outcomes. This study analyzed data from a national clinical registry of patients with heart failure admitted between 2006 and 2014, spanning the implementation of Medicare nonpayment. Similar to prior studies, there was a decline in readmission rates observed after implementation of penalties. In this cohort, researchers also observed increases in 30-day and 1-year risk-adjusted mortality. The authors conclude that penalties for readmissions may have unintended negative consequences for patient outcomes. A previous PSNet interview discussed the benefits and limitations of Medicare's nonpayment policy.