Original Study| Volume 21, ISSUE 10, P1504-1508.e1, October 2020

Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and Post-Acute Care: Implications for Service Delivery and 30-Day Hospital Readmission



      Examine whether the introduction of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) is associated with changes in post-acute care (PAC) use and 30-day readmission.


      A retrospective cohort study examined data prepassage, preimplementation, and postimplementation of the HRRP.

      Setting and Participants

      In total, 7,851,430 Medicare beneficiaries discharged from 5116 acute hospitals to PAC settings including inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing, home health, or a long-term care hospital during 2007‒2015. We examined HRRP-targeted conditions (acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia) and nontargeted conditions (ischemic stroke, total hip arthroplasty/total knee arthroplasty, and hip/femur fractures).


      The hospital-level of quarterly PAC use and the association with 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates. Outcomes were calculated for HRRP-targeted and nontargeted conditions/diagnoses across 3 phases of HRRP implementation.


      An increase in quarterly PAC use was significantly (P < .001) associated with a decrease in 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and hip/femur fracture. In contrast, an increase in quarterly PAC use was significantly associated with an increase in readmission rate for total hip arthroplasty/total knee arthroplasty (P < 001). PAC quarterly use and readmission rates varied significantly during implementation periods for HRRP- targeted and nontargeted conditions.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The impact on readmission after PAC for selected impairment groups may be mediated by the type of PAC services received and whether the diagnoses is included in the HRRP. Additional research is necessary to determine if a reduction in readmission is associated with inclusion in the HRRP or is a side effect related to diagnostic group and/or type of PAC services received.


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