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Invited Commentary
April 10, 2019

What Readmission Rates in Canada Tell Us About the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 2Harvard Global Health Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA Cardiol. 2019;4(5):453-454. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.0846

In 2010, US Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which established a series of programs and policies aimed at improving the quality and decreasing the cost of health care that US individuals receive. Although evidence on the outcomes of these policies has been mixed, an early bright spot appeared to be the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). The HRRP financially penalizes hospitals that have higher-than-expected readmission rates among patients receiving Medicare who had certain medical and surgical conditions. Early studies1 of the program found a drop in readmission rates coinciding with the announcement of the program, suggesting that hospitals had responded to the incentives and found ways to reduce how often their patients are readmitted.

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