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Original Investigation
January 8, 2020

Temporal Trends in Racial Differences in 30-Day Readmission and Mortality Rates After Acute Myocardial Infarction Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
  • 2Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, North Carolina
  • 3Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri
  • 5Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 6Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 7Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
  • 8Department of Cardiology, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • 9Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
  • 10Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • 11Section Editor, JAMA Cardiology
JAMA Cardiol. Published online January 8, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.4845
Key Points

Question  What are the temporal trends in race-specific 30-day outcomes after acute myocardial infarction in the contemporary era?

Findings  In this cohort study of patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction to hospitals participating in the Chest Pain–MI registry, stable declines in 30-day readmission rates were observed between 2008 and 2016 for both black and nonblack patients; 30-day mortality rates also declined over time in nonblack patients, with stable temporal trends in black patients. The association between race and 30-day outcomes did not vary before and after the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program began.

Meaning  In this analysis, racial differences in 30-day outcomes were not modified by Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program implementation across high-performing and low-performing hospitals.

Abstract

Importance  The association of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) with reductions in racial disparities in 30-day outcomes for myocardial infarction (MI), is unknown, including whether this varies by HRRP hospital penalty status.

Objective  To assess temporal trends in 30-day readmission and mortality rates among black and nonblack patients discharged after hospitalization for acute MI at low-performing and high-performing hospitals, as defined by readmission penalty status after HRRP implementation.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This observational cohort analysis used data from the multicenter National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain–MI Registry centers that were subject to the first cycle of HRRP, between January 1, 2008, and November 30, 2016. All patients hospitalized with MI who were included in National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain–MI Registry were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed from April 2018 to September 2019.

Exposures  Hospital performance category and race (black compared with nonblack patients). Centers were classified as high performing or low performing based on the excess readmission ratio (predicted to expected 30-day risk adjusted readmission rate) for MI during the first HRRP cycle (in October 2012).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Thirty-day all-cause readmission and mortality rates.

Results  Among 753 hospitals that treated 155 397 patients with acute MI (of whom 11 280 [7.3%] were black), 399 hospitals (53.0%) were high performing. Thirty-day readmission rates declined over time in both black and nonblack patients (annualized 30-day readmission rate: 17.9% vs 20.8%). Black (compared with nonblack) race was associated with higher unadjusted odds of 30-day readmission in both low-performing and high-performing centers (odds ratios: before HRRP: low-performing hospitals, 1.14 [95% CI, 1.03-1.26]; P = .01; high-performing hospitals, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.04-1.32]; P = .01; after HRRP: low-performing hospitals, 1.23 [95% CI, 1.13-1.34]; P < .001; high-performing hospitals, 1.25 [95% CI, 1.12-1.39]; P < .001). However, these racial differences were not significant after adjustment for patient characteristics. The 30-day mortality rates declined significantly over time in nonblack patients, with stable (nonsignificant) temporal trends among black patients. Adjusted associations between race and 30-day mortality showed that 30-day mortality rates were significantly lower among black (compared with nonblack) patients in the low-performing hospitals (odds ratios: pre-HRRP, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.63-0.97]; P = .03; post-HRRP, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.68-0.95]; P = .01) but not in high-performing hospitals. Finally, the association between race and 30-day outcomes did not vary after the HRRP period began in either high-performing or low-performing hospitals.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this analysis, 30-day readmission rates among patients with MI declined over time for both black and nonblack patients. Differences in race-specific 30-day readmission rates persisted but appeared to be attributable to patient-level factors. The 30-day mortality rates have declined for nonblack patients and remained stable among black patients. Implementation of the HRRP was not associated with improvement or worsening of racial disparities in readmission and mortality rates.

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