Investigating a Multistakeholder Alliance Approach to Reducing Hospital Readmissions

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Abstract

There is growing appreciation that significant improvements in healthcare quality cannot be achieved by organizations working in isolation. To that end, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative provides multistakeholder alliances—groups of payers, purchasers, providers, and consumers that work together—with funding and technical assistance to improve healthcare community wide. Reducing readmissions was one of the several AF4Q goals. Alliances crafted their own interventions, tailored to address the communities' unique needs, and took advantage of local resources. Our objective was to determine whether readmission rates declined more in AF4Q communities than in non-AF4Q communities by year 7 of the 10-year initiative. We conducted a quasiexperimental study using zip code–level demographics and 30-day readmission rates for all medical and surgical discharges using Medicare claims data for 2008 through 2012. This interim analysis found that AF4Q was not associated with significant reductions in medical or surgical readmissions, suggesting that AF4Q's multistakeholder approach was no more effective at reducing readmissions than other national efforts, such as the Hospital Reduction Program under the Affordable Care Act.

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