Physicians are at increased pressure to reduce readmissions for certain chronic diseases. A recent study found that implementation of the 30-day readmission rules has been associated with increased 30-day post-discharge mortality for those hospitalized for heart failure and pneumonia.
Post-discharge deaths have increased by 0.25% for patients hospitalized with heart failure and by 0.40% for patients with pneumonia since the implementation of the 30-day readmission rules.
There are approximately 8 million hospitalizations during the study period. Such small increases may account for a large number of deaths.
The findings, published online in JAMA, come from a retrospective cohort study that compared mortality rates among 8.3 million Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for these common conditions before and after implementation of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). This early data should lead physicians to exercise caution in discharging patients prematurely.
Source: Association of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program With Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized for Heart Failure, Acute Myocardial Infarction, and Pneumonia. JAMA. 2018;320(24):2542-2552. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19232