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Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program Could Have Unintended Consequences for Hospitals that Serve Vulnerable Populations

In Section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is mandated to make progressive reductions in Medicare payments to hospitals that have high rates of  readmissions for Medicare beneficiaries through the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Hospitals that serve vulnerable populations and experience high readmission rates may be adversely affected by the HRRP, which could limit their ability to provide healthcare services to patients who need them.  Working with a hospital association, KNG Health has completed several studies to analyze patterns of hospital inpatient care to better understand the level of and variation in readmission rates by hospital characteristics.  In addition, it has assessed the reliability of the readmission measures used by CMS, developed alternative methods for measuring readmissions, and estimated the financial impact of the HRRP once fully implemented in 2015. 

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