Bill would factor demographics into readmission penalties

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House and Senate would incorporate sociodemographic data when calculating hospital readmission rates, which the American Hospital Association (AHA) said would improve the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. Under the existing system, hospitals are often penalized for readmissions beyond their control, particularly those with low-income rural and urban patient populations. Under the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would take such factors into account when calculating hospital readmission penalties. The legislation "will improve the fairness of CMS' readmissions program and help ensure hospitals have the critical resources needed to care for their most vulnerable patients," Rick Pollack, executive vice president of the AHA, said in a statement this week. Statement