- Medicare may penalize hospitals with high admission rates based on patients they serve, concluded a study posted online in JAMA Internal Medicine.
- The study authors reviewed 8,067 admissions from Health and Retirement Study data and linked Medicare claims for HRS participants enrolled in Medicare who were hospitalized from 2009 to 2012.
- According to the researchers, 22 of 29 patient characteristics assessed significantly predicted readmission “beyond standard adjustments.”
According to the researchers, 17 of the 29 patient characteristics were dispersed differently in hospitals within the highest and lowest quintiles of publicly-reported hospital-wide readmission rates. Of those characteristics, 16 indicated participants admitted to hospitals in the highest readmission rate quintile were “more likely to have characteristics that were associated with a higher probability of readmission.”
The researchers found 48% of the difference between hospital readmission rates can be attributed to factors such as education and income, reports The Hill.
“Patient characteristics not included in Medicare’s current risk-adjustment methods explained much of the difference in readmission risk between patients admitted to hospitals with higher [versus] lower readmission rates,” the researchers concluded.