Examining Intended and Unintended Consequences of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

The researchers identified hospital responses to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and examined whether these responses offset expected savings to Medicare.  Specifically, the researchers performed a series of logistic regressions in order to analyze any changes in readmission rates and length of hospital stay for Medicare patients admitted for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, the three conditions targeted under the HRRP.  The researchers also examined any unintended adverse consequences of the HRRP, including strategic behavior by hospitals that could reduce expected savings to Medicare.  The goal of this project was to provide policymakers with a more informed picture of potential hospital responses to an important payment redesign under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.