Author Interviews, Frailty, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: hospital-frailty-surgeryKara Anne Rothenberg.MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vascular Surgery Shipra Arya, MD SM FACS Associate Professor of Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a growing body of literature showing that frailty, a syndrome where patients have increased vulnerability to a stressor (such as surgery), is associated with increased postoperative complications, failure to rescue, and hospital readmissions. The Risk Analysis Index (RAI), is an easy to use frailty measurement tool that better predicts postoperative mortality than age or comorbidities alone. As the rates of outpatient surgeries rise nationwide, we noted that most of the surgical frailty studies focus only on inpatient surgeries. Elective, outpatient surgery is generally considered low risk for complications and unplanned readmissions, however we hypothesized that for frail patients, it might not be.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Neurology, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 20.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49220" align="alignleft" width="180"]Sameed Khatana, MDFellow, Cardiovascular Medicine, Perleman School of MedicineAssociate Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health EconomicsUniversity of Pennsylvania Dr. Khatana[/caption] Sameed Khatana, MD Fellow, Cardiovascular Medicine, Perleman School of Medicine Associate Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been a growing use of quality metrics and indices in the US healthcare system. Much attention has been paid to quality measurement programs used by public payors, however, the use of such programs by commercial payors is much less studied. "Centers of excellence" are one type of quality designation program that is growing in use by commercial payors where certain hospitals are determined to be "high quality" for a certain disease state or procedure based on meeting certain criteria. For some people, this is even impacting the choice of providers and hospitals they can use by payors. We evaluated centers of excellence programs from three large commercial payors, Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, targeted at cardiovascular diseases and interventions and examined publicly reported outcomes for all hospitals performing percutaneous coronary interventions (cardiac stenting) in New York State. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48537" align="alignleft" width="145"]Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPHAssistant Professor of MedicineWashington University Brown School of Social Work Dr. Joynt Maddox[/caption] Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Washington University Brown School of Social Work  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has been controversial, in part because until 2019 it did not take social risk into account when judging hospitals’ performance. In the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress required that CMS change the program to judge hospitals only against other hospitals in their “peer group” based on the proportion of their patients who are poor. As a result, starting with fiscal year 2019, the HRRP divides hospitals into five peer groups and then assesses performance and assigns penalties. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, General Medicine, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 02.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48340" align="alignleft" width="142"]Teryl K. Nuckols, MDVice Chair, Clinical ResearchDirector, Division of General Internal MedicineCedars-Sinai Medical Center  Dr. Nuckols[/caption] Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Healthcare policymakers have long worried that value-based payment programs unfairly penalize hospitals treating many African-American patients, which could worsen health outcomes for this group. For example, policy experts have suspected that the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program unevenly punishes institutions caring for more vulnerable populations, including racial minorities. They've also feared that hospitals might be incentivized to not give patients the care they need to avoid readmissions. The study Investigators wanted to determine whether death rates following discharges increased among African-American and white patients 65 years and older after the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program started.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Nursing / 29.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47212" align="alignleft" width="150"]Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881 Dr. Weiss[/caption] Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team of researchers has been studying the association of patient readiness for discharge and readmission for several years. We have previously documented that patients who had ‘low readiness’ on our Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale were more likely to be readmitted. In this study we added structured protocols for discharge readiness assessment and nurse actions to usual discharge care practices to determine the optimal protocol configuration to achieve improved post-discharge utilization outcomes. In our primary analysis that included patients from a broad range of patient diagnoses, we did not find a significant effect on readmission from adding any of the discharge readiness assessment protocols. The patient sample came from Magnet hospitals, known for high quality care, and the average all-cause readmission rates were low (11.3%). In patients discharged from high-readmission units (>11.3%), one of the protocols was effective in reducing the likelihood of readmission. In this protocol, the nurse obtained the patients self-report of discharge readiness to inform the nurse’s discharge readiness assessment and actions in finalizing preparations for discharge. This patient-informed discharge readiness assessment protocol produced a nearly 2 percentage point reduction in readmissions. Not unexpectedly, in lower readmission settings, we did not see a reduction in readmission; not all readmissions are preventable. In the last phase of study, we informed nurses of a cut-off score for ‘low readiness’ and added a prescription for nurse action only in cases of ‘low readiness’; this addition to the protocol added burden to the nurses’ daily work and eliminated the beneficial effects, perhaps because it limited the nurse’s attention to only a subset of patients. 
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Primary Care / 28.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Dawn Wiest, 7-day pledge after hospital admissionDawn Wiest, PhD Director, Action Research & Evaluation Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Understanding the role of care transitions after hospitalization in reducing avoidable readmissions, the Camden Coalition launched the 7-Day Pledge in 2014 in partnership with primary care practices in Camden, NJ to address patient and provider barriers to timely post-discharge primary care follow-up. To evaluate whether our program was associated with lower hospital readmissions, we used all-payer hospital claims data from five regional health systems. We compared readmissions for patients who had a primary care follow-up within seven days with similar patients who had a later or no follow-up using propensity score matching.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Schizophrenia, University of Pittsburgh / 22.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46132" align="alignleft" width="150"]Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN Assistant Professor, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh Dr. Germack[/caption] Hayley D. Germack PHD, MHS, RN Assistant Professor, School of Nursing University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As nurse scientists, we repeatedly witness the impact of having a serious mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression disorder) on patients’ inpatient and discharge experience. As health services researchers, we know how to make use of large secondary data to illuminate our firsthand observations. In 2016, Dr. Hanrahan and colleagues (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834316301347) published findings of a secondary data analysis from a large urban hospital system that found 1.5 to 2.4 greater odds of readmission for patients with an  serious mental illness diagnosis compared to those without. We decided to make use of the AHRQ’s HCUP National Readmissions Database to illuminate the magnitude of this relationship using nationally representative data. We found that even after controlling for clinical, demographic, and hospital factors, that patients with SMI have nearly 2 times greater odds of 30-day readmission. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Duke, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45750" align="alignleft" width="189"]Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Nicholas Reed AuD[/caption] Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively. Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 17.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43117" align="alignleft" width="146"]Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP) Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester Prof. Mamas[/caption] Professor Mamas Mamas (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, MRCP) Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and an Honorary Professor of Cardiology at the University of Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Discharge against medical advice occurs in 1 to 2% of all medical admissions but little / no data around how frequently this occurs in the context of PCI or the outcomes associated with such a course of action. We undertook this study to understand both how commonly discharge against medical advice occurs, the types of patients it occurs in and outcomes in terms of both readmission rates and causes of readmisison.  
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sahil Agrawal, MBBS MD Division of Cardiology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA Dr Lohit Garg MD Division of Cardiology Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions among advanced heart failure patients are common and contribute significantly to heath care related costs. Rates and causes of readmissions, and their associated costs among patients after durable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation have not been studied in a contemporary multi-institutional setting. We studied the incidence, predictors, causes, and costs of 30-day readmissions after LVAD implantation using Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) in our recently published study.
Author Interviews, Frailty, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 04.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Khadaroo, MD, PhD, FRCSC Associate Professor of Surgery Department of Surgery & Division of Critical Care Medicine University of Alberta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The elderly are the fastest growing population in North America. There are very few studies that have examined the impact of frailty and age on outcomes following abdominal surgery. Readmissions are expensive have been considered an important quality indicator for surgical care. This study examined 308 patients 65 years and older who were admitted for emergency abdominal surgery in two hospitals in Alberta and followed them for 6 months for readmission or death. Patients were classified into 3 categories: Well, pre-frail (no apparent disability), and frail.
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37751" align="alignleft" width="148"]Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 Dr. Chen[/caption] Hsueh-Fen Chen, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management College of Public Health University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR 72205 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and Hospital Value-based Purchasing (HVBP) Program in 2011 and implemented the two programs in 2013. These two programs financially motivate hospitals to reduce readmission rates and improve quality of care, efficiency, and patient experience. The Mississippi Delta Region is one of the most impoverished areas in the country, with a high proportion of minorities occupying in the region.  Additionally, these hospitals are  safety-net resources for the poor. It was largely unknown what the financial performance for the hospitals in the Mississippi Delta Region was under the HRRP and HVBP programs.

Dr. Chen and colleagues in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences compared the financial performance between Delta hospitals and non-Delta hospitals (namely, other hospitals in the nation) from 2008 through 2014 that were covered before and after the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs. The financial performance was measured by using the operating margin (profitability from patient care) and total margin (profitability from patient care and non-patient care)

Before the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, Delta hospitals had weaker financial performance than non-Delta hospitals but their differences were not statistically significant. After the implementation of the HRRP and HVBP programs, the gap in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta hospitals became wider and significant. The unadjusted operating margin for Delta hospitals was about -4.0% in 2011 and continuously fell to -10.4% in 2014, while the unadjusted operating margin for non-Delta hospitals was about 0.1% in 2011 and dropped to -1.5% in 2014. The unadjusted total margin for Delta hospitals significantly fell from 3.6% in 2012 to 1.1% in 2013 and reached 0.2% in 2014, while the unadjusted total margin for non-Delta hospitals remained about 5.3% from 2012 through 2014. After adjusting hospital and community characteristics, the difference in financial performance between Delta and non-Delta remained significant.

Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions, Primary Care / 03.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37314" align="alignleft" width="134"]Roberta Capp MD Assistant Professor Director for Care Transitions in the Department of Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Director of Colorado Access Medicaid Aurora Colorado Dr. Capp[/caption] Roberta Capp MD Assistant Professor Director for Care Transitions in the Department of Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Director of Colorado Access Medicaid Aurora Colorado     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Medicaid clients are at highest risk for utilizing the hospital system due to barriers in accessing outpatient services and social determinants. We have found that providing care management services improves primary care utilization, which leads to better chronic disease management and reductions in emergency department use and hospital admissions.
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37278" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  Dr. Lapointe-Shaw[/caption] Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions after hospital discharge are common and costly. We would like to reduce these as much as possible. Early physician follow-up post hospital discharge is one possible strategy to reduce readmissions. To this end, incentives to outpatient physicians for early follow-up have been introduced in the U.S. and Canada. We studied the effect of such an incentive, introduced to Ontario, Canada, in 2006.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Yale / 27.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nihar R. Desai, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale School of Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale New Haven Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reducing rates of readmissions after hospitalization has been a major focus for patients, providers, payers, and policymakers because they reflect, at least partially, the quality of care and care transitions, and account for substantial costs. The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was enacted under Section 3025 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 and imposed financial penalties beginning in October 2012 for hospitals with higher than expected readmissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), congestive heart failure (HF), and pneumonia among their fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries. In recent years, readmission rates have fallen nationally, and for both target (AMI, HF, pneumonia) and non-target conditions. We were interested in determining whether the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) associated with different changes in readmission rates for targeted and non-targeted conditions for penalized vs non-penalized hospitals?
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 20.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_30658" align="alignleft" width="180"]Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa[/caption] Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We analyzed a 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with a medical condition in 2011-2014, and found that patients treated by female doctors have lower mortality and readmission rates than those cared for by male doctors.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions / 10.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28723" align="alignleft" width="182"]Kathleen Carey, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Health Law, Policy and Management School of Public Health Boston University Boston MA  02118 Dr. Kathleen Carey[/caption] Kathleen Carey, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Health Law, Policy and Management School of Public Health Boston University Boston MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ACA’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) imposes Medicare reimbursement penalties on hospitals with readmission rates for certain conditions if they exceed national averages. A number of observers have expressed serious concern over the program’s impact on safety-net hospitals, which serve a high proportion of low income patients who are more likely to be readmitted – often for reasons outside hospital control. Many have argued that the HRRP should adjust for socio-economic status. However, Medicare does not want to lower the standard of quality for these hospitals.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Outcomes & Safety / 09.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheila Eckenrode, RN, CPHQ Project Manager Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS) Qualidigm MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We sought to investigate the association at the hospital-level between 21 in-hospital adverse event rates and both mortality and readmission rates for Medicare Fee-For-Service patients with AMI. We used data from the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS), the nation's largest randomly selected hospital medical record-abstracted patient safety database, and data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which includes hospital performance on mortality and readmissions for over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals, to assess the association between hospital performance on patient safety and hospital performance on 30-day all-cause mortality and readmissions for Medicare fee-for-service patients discharged with AMI. We found that hospital performance on patient safety is associated with hospital performance on mortality and readmission rates for AMI. Hospitals with poorer patient safety performance are likely to have higher 30-day all-cause mortality and readmission rates for these patients.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 04.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27659" align="alignleft" width="125"]Christian A. McNeely, M.D. Resident Physician - Internal Medicine Barnes-Jewish Hospital Washington University Medical Center Dr. Christian McNeely[/caption] Christian A. McNeely, M.D. Resident Physician - Internal Medicine Barnes-Jewish Hospital Washington University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prior research has demonstrated that readmission in the first 30 days after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is common, reported around one in six or seven Medicare beneficiaries, and that many are potentially preventable. Since 2000, there have been significant changes in the management of coronary artery disease and the use of PCI. Additionally, in the last decade, readmission rates have become a major focus of research, quality improvement and a public health issue, with multiple resulting national initiatives/programs which may be affecting care. Therefore, in this study, we sought to examine contemporary trends in readmission characteristics and associated outcomes of patients who underwent PCI using the Medicare database from 2000-2012.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, Surgical Research / 31.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27509" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil Assistant Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Director of Quality and Analytics Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center Dr. Jason Wasfy[/caption] Jason H. Wasfy, MD, MPhil Assistant Medical Director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization Director of Quality and Analytics Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reducing preventable readmissions after PCI is a way to both improve the quality of care for our patients and improve value for patients with coronary artery disease. Through a variety of tactics, we were able to reduce the 30 day readmission rate for patients after PCI by nearly half. Keep in mind that this is only the readmission rate to our hospital, so we will need to confirm these results with data including patients who may have been readmitted to other hospitals after a PCI at Mass General.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 20.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26313" align="alignleft" width="150"]Thomas P. Meehan, MD, MPH Associate Medical Director Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Qualidigm, Wethersfield Quinnipiac University, North Haven CT Dr. Thomas Meehan[/caption] Thomas P. Meehan, MD, MPH Associate Medical Director Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Qualidigm, Wethersfield Quinnipiac University, North Haven CT MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a national effort to decrease preventable hospital readmissions in order to improve both the quality and cost of healthcare. Part of this national effort includes local quality improvement projects which are organized and conducted by a variety of organizations working by themselves or with others. We describe one statewide quality improvement project which was led by a Medicare-funded Quality Improvement Organization and conducted with a hospital association and many other collaborators. We document our activities and a relative decrease in the statewide 30-day aggregate readmission rate among fee-for service Medicare beneficiaries of 20.3% over four and a half years. While we are extremely proud of our work and this outcome, we recognize that there are many factors that impacted the outcome and that we can’t claim sole credit.
Author Interviews, Compliance, Hospital Readmissions / 13.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26091" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island Jennifer Polinski[/caption] Jennifer Polinski, Senior Director Enterprise Evaluation and Population Health Analytics CVS Health Woonsocket, Rhode Island MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Unnecessary and often preventable hospital readmissions are a growing and costly issue. An estimated one in seven patients discharged from a hospital is readmitted within 30 days, and startlingly, readmissions are associated with more than $41 billion in additional health care costs per year. In addition, evidence suggests that approximately 66 percent of hospital readmissions are the result of adverse health events related to medication non-adherence.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions, JACC, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Durstenfeld MD Department of Medicine Saul Blecker, MD, MHS Department of Population Health and Department of Medicine New York University School of Medicine NYU Langone Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Racial and ethnic disparities continue to be a problem in cardiovascular disease outcomes. In heart failure, minority patients have more readmissions despite lower mortality after hospitalization for heart failure. Some authors have attributed these racial differences to differences in access to care, although this has never been proven. Our study examined patients hospitalized within the municipal hospital system in New York City to see whether racial and ethnic disparities in readmissions and mortality were present among a diverse population with similar access to care. We found that black and Asian patients had lower one-year mortality than white patients; concurrently black and Hispanic patients had higher rates of readmission. These disparities persisted even after accounting for demographic and clinical differences among racial and ethnic groups.
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions, Yale / 09.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25938" align="alignleft" width="183"]Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, MBA Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Cardiovascular Medicine: Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE) Yale School of Medicine Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan[/caption] Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, MBA Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Cardiovascular Medicine: Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation (CORE) Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Programs from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services simultaneously promote strategies to lower hospital admissions and readmissions. However, there is concern that hospitals in communities that successfully reduce admissions may be penalized, as patients that are ultimately hospitalized may be sicker and at higher risk of readmission. We therefore examined the relationship between changes from 2010 to 2013 in admission rates and thirty-day readmission rates for elderly Medicare beneficiaries. We found that communities with the greatest decline in admission rates also had the greatest decline in thirty-day readmission rates, even though hospitalized patients did grow sicker as admission rates declined. The relationship between changing admission and readmission rates persisted in models that measured observed readmission rates, risk-standardized readmission rates, and the combined rate of readmission and death.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Hospital Readmissions, Outcomes & Safety, UT Southwestern / 04.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Oanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MAS | Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Outcomes and Health Services Research Dallas, TXOanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MAS | Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Outcomes and Health Services Research Dallas, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nguyen: The impetus for this study was Steven Brill’s 2013 Time magazine award-winning article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” This report investigated inflated charges for hospital bills, and and suggested that a major driver of irrationally high charges was the disproportionate negotiating power of hospitals, as evidenced through their high profit margins. As hospital physicians, our reaction was “But what if hospitals that make more money are delivering more value and better outcomes to patients? If that’s the case, wouldn’t most people say that their profits justifiably earned?” Surprisingly, we found that no one had really looked at this issue in a systematic way. We set out to answer this question using hospital financial data from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and outcomes data on 30-day readmissions and mortality for congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction (‘heart attacks’), and pneumonia from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare website. California has more hospitals than any other state other than Texas, and also has a wide diversity of hospital types. The OSHPD financial data are also audited, so we thought these would be more reliable than using data from other sources. Because the outcomes reported on Hospital Compare are viewable by the general public, we thought hospitals would be most motivated to target improvements in these outcomes. We found that there was almost no association between how much money a hospital made and its subsequent performance on outcomes. The exception to this was we found that hospitals that had better finances reported higher rates of 30-day mortality for congestive heart failure, which was counterintuitive. We’re not sure why this was the case but speculate that it is possible that hospitals with better finances take care of sicker heart failure patients because they have more advanced (and more expensive) treatments available. Additionally, we looked to see if hospitals with lower readmissions rates subsequently made less money. This is a specific area of policy concern given federal penalties in the U.S. for excessive hospital readmissions. Many critics of these penalties have argued that reducing readmissions makes no financial sense for hospitals, since readmissions still generate hospital revenue despite the penalties. Thus, reducing readmissions would reduce a key source of hospital revenue and lead to poorer hospital finances. However, our analysis showed that lower readmissions rates were not associated with poorer hospital finances, as has been feared. 
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 11.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22572" align="alignleft" width="120"]Chairman and Surgeon-in-Chief Department of Surgery Saint Barnabas Medical Center Professor of Surgery New Jersey Medical School Rutgers University Dr. Ronald Chamberlain[/caption] Ronald S. Chamberlain, MD, MPA, FACS Chairman and Surgeon-in-Chief Department of Surgery Saint Barnabas Medical Center Professor of Surgery New Jersey Medical School Rutgers University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chamberlain:  With the rapidly growing arthritic, aging, and obese population, total hip replacement (THR) has become the most commonly performed orthopedic procedure in the United States (US).  The Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama imposed financial penalties for excess readmissions following certain procedures and diagnoses. While the initial program aimed to reduce readmissions for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the program expanded to include THR in 2015. With current research estimating a 10%, 30-day readmission rate following a total or partial hip replacement, this study sought to identify factors associated with readmission and to create a scale which could reliably stratify preoperative readmission risk.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions, Technology / 25.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_22021" align="alignleft" width="200"]Andrey Ostrovsky, MD CEO | Co-Founder Care at Hand Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky[/caption] Andrey Ostrovsky, MD CEO | Co-Founder Care at Hand  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Ostrovsky: Hospital readmissions are a large source of wasteful healthcare spending, and current care transition models are too expensive to be sustainable. One way to circumvent cost-prohibitive care transition programs is complement nurse-staffed care transition programs with those staffed by less expensive nonmedical workers. A major barrier to utilizing nonmedical workers is determining the appropriate time to escalate care to a clinician with a wider scope of practice. The objective of this study is to show how mobile technology can use the observations of nonmedical workers to stratify patients on the basis of their hospital readmission risk.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Hospital Readmissions / 16.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_21637" align="alignleft" width="142"]Rashmee U. Shah, MD MS Cardiovascular Medicine University of Utah School of Medicine Dr. Rashmee Shah[/caption] Rashmee U. Shah, MD MS Cardiovascular Medicine University of Utah School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shah: The purpose of this study was to evaluate long term outcomes of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) survivors who have cardiogenic shock. We used the ACTION Registry-GWTG (from the NCDR), which is the largest database of AMI, or heart attack, patients in the United States. Some heart attack patients develop cardiogenic shock which is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes so weak that it cannot effectively pump blood to the rest of the body. These patients are critically ill, but with advances in our treatment for heart attacks, many will survive to hospital discharge. We wanted to know, after all the intense treatment and sometimes long hospitalization, how do these patients fare when they leave the hospital? From a total of 112,668 heart attack patients who survived hospitalization, we identified 5,555 who had cardiogenic shock. Over half of all patients were either hospitalized or died within one year of discharge, and this poor outcome was more common among patients who had cardiogenic shock. In fact, the risk of death or hospitalization seems to be clustered in the early post-discharge time period, within 60 days, for patients with cardiogenic shock. After 60 days, shock and non-shock patients experience similar risk. In other words, we found that heart attack patients who had cardiogenic shock are particularly vulnerable during the first 60 days after hospital discharge.
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Pediatrics / 16.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_21532" align="alignleft" width="145"]Marion R. Sills, MD, MPH Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Marion Sills[/caption] Marion R. Sills, MD, MPH Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sills: My co-authors and I know that studies show that patients who are poorer or are minorities are readmitted at higher rates than other patients, and that readmissions penalties, which are far more commonly applied in relation to readmissions of adult patients, have been shown to punish hospitals for the type of patients that they serve, rather than purely for the quality of care they provide.  Currently, these penalties impact hospitals treating Medicare patients in all 50 states but only impact readmissions of children in 4 states, although other states are considering implementing these penalties.  This was our rationale for exploring the impact of patients’ social determinants of health (factors like race, ethnicity, health insurance and income) on how likely it was that a hospital would be penalized for readmissions under a typical state-level pay-for-performance measure based on hospital readmissions. Readmissions penalties are designed to penalize hospitals that provide lower quality care. However, without adjusting for social determinants of health factors, these pay-for-performance measures may unfairly penalize hospitals based on the type of patient they treat as well as the quality of care they provide. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sills: We found that risk adjustment for social determinants of health factors changed hospitals’ penalty status on a readmissions-based pay-for-performance measure. Without adjusting the pay-for-performance measures for social determinants of health, hospitals may receive penalties partially related to patient factors beyond the quality of hospital care.