Tags: Health Topics | obamacare | fine | readmission | hospital

Study: Obamacare Fines Reduced Hospital Readmission Rates

Image: Study: Obamacare Fines Reduced Hospital Readmission Rates

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By    |   Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 12:05 PM

Fines legislated as part of Obamacare have led to the poorest performing hospitals achieving the greatest reductions in readmission rates for such common conditions as heart failure and pneumonia, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study, led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests that policies can motivate health care providers to improve performance.

The financial penalties have been in place since the Affordable Care Act's Hospital Readmission Reduction Program was implemented in 2012 in response to the high numbers of patients who were readmitted within 30 days of their initial discharge from the hospital after treatment for several common conditions, News Medical Life Sciences reported.

The study checked Medicare fee-for-service hospitalization data from more than 2,800 hospitals nationwide between 2000 and 2013 to determine if passage of the law affected readmission rates after initial hospitalization for common conditions. The data showed that although hospitals in general improved their rate of preventing readmission, the hospitals that were the lowest performers before the reform had the highest improvement after being penalized financially.

This indicated that the fines were indeed a motivating factor.

The authors of the study said in an article published in STAT that even those who are interested in repealing Obamacare should take notice of those features of the program that have proven effective.

They stressed that before the implementation of penalties in Obamacare, nearly 20 percent of all Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of leaving it, costing some $15 billion per year.

The authors stress that these readmissions have proven to be preventable now that there is a financial incentive to do so and urge that at least this feature of Obamacare be retained.

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Fines legislated as part of Obamacare have led to the poorest performing hospitals achieving the greatest reductions in readmission rates for such common conditions as heart failure and pneumonia, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
obamacare, fine, readmission, hospital
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2016-05-27
Tuesday, 27 Dec 2016 12:05 PM
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