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New Study finds Link in Rise of HF PN Patients Mortality Rates and Lower 30 Day Readmission Rates

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Modern Healthcare writes of a new study, released Friday in JAMA, found death rates rose slightly among heart failure and pneumonia patients as hospitals were encouraged to lower 30-day readmission rates under the CMS’ Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). This is the second study that has been published finding a correlation between the readmissions penalty program and a rise in death among patients with conditions the program targets. A previous study published in November 2017 found decrease in hospital readmissions was linked to an increase in mortality rates among heart failure patients (AHT Blog, Nov 2017)

The most recent study compared mortality rates for hospitalizations for heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia from before the readmissions program began to a few years after the program’s implementation. The authors found death rates for heart failure patients rose by 0.52% after the readmissions program was implemented compared to a 0.27% rise in mortality in the few years before the program. Furthermore, mortality rates from pneumonia were stable before the readmissions program went into effect with a 0.04% increase from 2005 to 2010 but rose by 0.44% from 2012 to 2015, after the program began.

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