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Hospital Revisits Within 30 Days After Discharge for Medical Conditions Targeted by HRRP Increased, Study Finds

A new study, published in BMJ, sought to determine any changes in total hospital revisits within 30 days of discharge after a hospital stay for medical conditions targeted by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). The study focused on hospital stays among Medicare patients for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia between 1 January 2012 and 1 October 2015, for Medicare fee-for-service patients aged 65 or over. The study concluded that in the United States, total hospital revisits within 30 days of discharge for conditions targeted by the HRRP increased across the study period. This increase was due to a rise in post-discharge emergency department visits and observation stays, which exceeded the decline in readmissions. Although reductions in readmissions have been attributed to improvements in discharge planning and care transitions, study findings suggest that these declines could instead be because hospitals and clinicians have intensified efforts to treat patients who return to a hospital within 30 days of discharge in emergency departments and as observation stays.

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