Study highlights importance of emergency department in hospital readmissions

Emergency departments may play a surprising role in the reduction of readmission rates following the implementation of Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, according to a recent analysis.

Charleen Hsuan, assistant professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, led a study that examined what happens to discharged patients when they returned to a hospital’s emergency department. The results were recently published in JAMA Network Open.

For their research, the authors used a retrospective analysis examining hospital data from three states: California, Florida and New York.

The researchers found the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was associated with a reduction in the probability of readmission for recently discharged patients presenting to the emergency department, even for conditions for which admission is usually indicated, including congestive heart failure.

The analysis also showed that almost all patients with unplanned readmissions come through the emergency department.

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