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Invited Commentary
June 26, 2019

The Medical Hospital Readmission Reduction Program: Does It Do Any Good?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Kellogg School, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • 2Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 3National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 26, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.1003

One of the largest experiments in health care payments in recent years is the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP), a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Roughly 20% of Medicare admissions lead to a readmission within 30 days, and many readmissions are considered prima facie evidence of poor care. Historically, readmissions were a source of revenue for hospitals but a large cost for the Medicare program. The HRRP cut hospitals’ Medicare inpatient payments as a penalty for high readmission rates on targeted conditions.

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