A Hospital Level Analysis of 30-Day Readmission Performance for Heart Failure Patients and Long-Term Survival: Findings from Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure

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Background:Medicare utilizes 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates (RSRR) as a measure of hospital quality and applies penalties based on this measure. The objective of this study was to identify the relationship between hospital performance on 30-day RSRR in heart failure (HF) patients and long-term patient survival.Methods:Data were collected from Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-HF and linked with Medicare data. Based on hospital performance for 30-day RSRR, hospitals were grouped into performance quartiles: top 25% (N=11,181), 25-50% (N=10,367), 50-75% (N=8729), and bottom 25% (N=7180). The primary outcome was mortality at 3 years applying Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for patient and hospital characteristics.Results:The overall 30-day readmission rate was 19.8% and the 3-year mortality rates were 61.8%, 61.0%, 62.6%, and 59.9% for top 25%, 25-50%, 50-75%, and bottom 25% hospitals for 30-day RSRR performance, respectively. Compared to bottom 25% performing hospitals, adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for 3-year mortality were HR 0.96 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.90-1.01), HR 0.89 (95% CI 0.84-0.94), HR 1.01 (95% CI 0.95-1.06) for the top 25%, 25-50% and 50-75% hospitals respectively. Median survival time was highest for the bottom 25% hospitals on the 30-day RSRR metric.Conclusion:Hospital performance on 30-day readmissions in HF has no or little association with risk adjusted 3-year mortality or median survival. There is a compelling need to utilize more meaningful and patient-centered outcome measures for reporting and incentivizing quality care for HF.

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