Research Supports Readmissions Program

Federal payment policy aimed at reducing hospital readmissions for key conditions hasn‘t resulted in a demonstrable increase in the use of “observation stays,” according to new research published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Critics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), have posited that penalties for readmissions of Medicare patients with acute myocardial infarctions, heart failure and pneumonia would result in an increase in the use of “observation stays” as a way to avoid payment reductions. Researchers find that observation stays were increasing prior to passage of the ACA and that there was “no significant association within hospitals between increases in observation-service use and reductions in readmissions during the implementation period.” The article,  “Readmissions, Obervation, and the Hospital Readmissions Program,” by Rachael B. Zuckerman, MPH and colleagues appears in the February 24 issue of NEJM. For more information, visit the publication‘s website at www.nejm.org.