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Study Finds Decrease in Hospital Readmissions Linked to Increase in Mortality Rates

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Healthcare Finance News writes: Five years ago, federal policymakers introduced the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program to spur hospitals to reduce Medicare readmission rates by penalizing them if they didn’t. A new analysis led by researchers at UCLA and Harvard University, however, finds that the program may be so focused on keeping some patients out of the hospital that related death rates are increasing.  In a study of 115,245 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries at 416 hospitals, implementation of the reduction program was indeed linked to a decrease in readmissions at 30 days after discharge and at one year after discharge among people hospitalized for heart failure. But it was also linked to an increase in mortality rates among these groups of patients.

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