Background: The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program penalizes hospitals with excess 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates (RSRR) for heart failure (HF). The association of financial penalty amount with subsequent short-term clinical outcomes is unknown. Methods: Patients admitted to American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines-HF registry participating centers from October 1, 2012 through December 1, 2015 who had Medicare-linked data were included. October 2012 hospital-specific penalty amounts were calculated based on diagnosis-related group payments and excess readmission ratios. Adjusted Cox models were created to evaluate the association of penalty amount categories (non-penalized: 0%; low-penalized: >0%-<0.50%; mid-penalized ≥0.50%-<0.99%; high-penalized ≥0.99%) with subsequent 30-day RSRR and risk-standardized mortality rates (RSMR). Trends in post-discharge 30-day RSRR and RSMR from 2012 to 2015 were analyzed across hospitals stratified by penalty amount categories. Results: The present study included 61,329 patients who were admitted across 262 hospitals. Compared with patients admitted to non-penalized hospitals (36.3%), those admitted to increasingly penalized hospitals were more likely to have higher 30-day RSRR (low-penalized [43.9%]: HR, 1.10 [95% CI, 1.04-1.16]; mid-penalized [12.0%]: HR, 1.07 [95% CI, 0.99-1.16]; high-penalized [7.9%]: HR, 1.23 [95% CI, 1.12-1.35]) but not 30-day RSMR. Over time, 30-day RSRR and RSMR did not meaningfully change across penalized versus non-penalized hospitals. Conclusions: Financial penalties based on 30-day RSRR are not associated with declines in 30-day RSRR or RSMR from 2012 to 2015 among patients hospitalized with HF. Financially penalizing hospitals based on current Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program metrics may not incentivize improvements in short-term clinical outcomes for HF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine