Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Intended and Unintended Effects

Chen, Min, and David C. Grabowski. “Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Intended and Unintended Effects.” Medical Care Research and Review, (December 2017). doi:10.1177/1077558717744611

31 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2018

See all articles by Min (Michelle) Chen

Min (Michelle) Chen

Florida International University (FIU)

David C. Grabowski

Harvard University - Department of Health Care Policy

Date Written: May 12, 2016

Abstract

This study examines whether the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals with excess readmissions for certain conditions, has reduced hospital readmissions and led to unintended consequences. Using patient discharge data (2008-2014) from Florida, we compared changes in outcomes of targeted hospital admissions before and after the HRRP to changes in outcomes of various control groups over this same time period. The HRRP resulted in a reduction in the likelihood of readmissions by 1 to 2 percentage points for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Readmissions among Medicare Advantage enrollees also decreased in response to the HRRP, although these readmissions were not subject to the penalty. We do not find any evidence of delayed readmission nor selection on patient income. However, the HRRP reduced the likelihood of Hispanic patients with target conditions being admitted by 2-4 percentage points.

Keywords: Medicare, readmissions, hospital, discharge

JEL Classification: L51, L88

Suggested Citation

Chen, Min (Michelle) and Grabowski, David C., Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Intended and Unintended Effects (May 12, 2016). Chen, Min, and David C. Grabowski. “Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: Intended and Unintended Effects.” Medical Care Research and Review, (December 2017). doi:10.1177/1077558717744611 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3035717

Min (Michelle) Chen (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) ( email )

University Park
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
United States

David C. Grabowski

Harvard University - Department of Health Care Policy ( email )

25 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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