Hospital rankings for heart failure readmissions unaffected by patient's socioeconomic status

May 13, 2014, The Mount Sinai Hospital

A new report by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, shows the socioeconomic status of congestive heart failure patients does not influence hospital rankings for heart failure readmissions.

In the study, researchers assessed whether adding a standard measure for indicating the socioeconomic status of patients could alter the expected 30-day heart failure hospital risk standardized readmission rate (RSRR) among New York City hospitals. For each patient a standard socioeconomic index score was used by the researchers based on his or her zip codes average income and educational level.

While research results show heart failure patients with a higher socioeconomic status were less likely to be readmitted, the overall impact of socioeconomic status on heart failure readmission rates was very minimal. The study also concludes that inclusion of a socioeconomic measure does not impact a hospital's RSRR profiling based on 30-day readmission.

"Our study results were unexpected and show our accounting for possible social risks of patients does not alter the hospital rankings for heart failure readmission rates," says Alex Blum, MD, MPH, lead study author from the Department of Health Evidence and Policy at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the National Institutes of Health. "Using a standard measure for a patients' , did not impact hospital-level rankings and 30-day congestive heart failure patient's readmission."

The study examined data of heart failure patient hospitalizations at 48 New York City hospitals for 17,767 Medicare patients aged 65 years and older who had a combined 25,962 hospitalizations between 2006 and 2009.

Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of hospital readmission in the United States for patients age 65 years or older and in the Medicare program. The costly condition imposes a large burden on the U.S. healthcare system with an estimated cost of $15 billion each year.

Experts have estimated that $12 billion of the annual costs of caring for congestive heart failure could be prevented through prevention of readmissions. To assess hospital performance in this area, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), developed a model to create hospital-level 30-day congestive heart failure RSRR. As a result, hospitals with excessive, or more than expected readmission rates, have begun to lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursements.

However, according to researchers the current CMS model only accounts for patient age, gender, and co-morbid health conditions and lacks measures of socioeconomic or social status. "There are too few variables in Medicare data to adequately capture a heart failure patient's social risks and therefore insufficient data available to researchers and policymakers to determine if current payment and reimbursement healthcare reform policies hurt hospitals that care for the more socially disadvantaged," says Dr. Blum of Mount Sinai.

According to researchers, better measures may be needed to assess the true impact of socioeconomic risk factors on hospital profiling based on 30-day congestive heart failure readmissions, and to fully explore the impact of CMS's new healthcare reform policies on hospital profiling.

Explore further: Study links social, community factors with hospital readmissions

Related Stories

Study links social, community factors with hospital readmissions

May 5, 2014
Factors like the level of poverty in a neighborhood, living alone, and age affect a patient's chances of being readmitted to a hospital after discharge, even after possible variations in quality of care in the hospital have ...

Hospitals serving elderly poor more likely to be penalized for readmissions

January 8, 2014
Hospitals that treat more poor seniors who are on both Medicaid and Medicare tend to have higher rates of readmissions, triggering costly penalties from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), finds a new study ...

Medicare patients with dementia 20 percent more likely to be readmitted

April 29, 2014
A review of more than 25,000 admissions of Medicare beneficiaries to Rhode Island hospitals has found that patients with a documented diagnosis of dementia are nearly 20 percent more likely to be readmitted within 30 days ...

Community demographics linked to hospital readmissions

April 11, 2014
Nearly 60 percent of the variation in hospital readmission rates appears to be associated with where the hospital is located rather than on the hospital's performance, finds a new study in Health Services Research.

An extra doctor visit may help prevent rehospitalization of kidney failure patients

May 8, 2014
More frequent face-to-face physician visits in the month following hospital discharge may help reduce a kidney failure patient's chances of needing to be sent back to the hospital. That's the conclusion of a study appearing ...

Researchers find comparable long-term outcomes between diastolic and systolic heart failure patients

January 9, 2014
A new study by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) found comparable long-term outcomes between congestive heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction commonly ...

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.