Study highlights importance of emergency department in hospital readmissions

May 19, 2020 by Jessica Haasz, Pennsylvania State University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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 for recently discharged patients presenting to the emergency department, even for conditions for which admission is usually indicated, including .

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

Especially during times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to reduce the number of unnecessary patients in the hospital. "Medicare's HRRP aims to do this by reducing unnecessary readmissions for hospitalized with key conditions," said Hsuan. "Our study found that the is an important gatekeeper for readmission decisions."

More information: Charleen Hsuan et al. Assessment of Hospital Readmissions From the Emergency Department After Implementation of Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, JAMA Network Open (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3857

Journal information: JAMA Network Open

Provided by Pennsylvania State University