Socioeconomic factors may be overemphasized in hospital readmission penalties

The socioeconomic status of patients may factor less into their risk of being readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge than the quality of care they receive after their release. A new study in Health Affairs has concluded that there was little difference in the penalties the Medicare program imposes on safety-net hospitals for readmissions compared to other facilities. Instead, the quality of care patients receive post-discharge--as well as where they go after they leave the hospital--should be given greater weight as a factor for readmission. "These findings suggest the need for a careful evaluation of policy alternatives that factor socioeconomic status into penalty calculations for excess readmissions to determine whether such alternatives could have a significant impact on penalties," the study's authors wrote. Read the full article in FierceHealthcare

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