To evaluate whether changes in diagnosis assignment explain reductions in 30‐day readmission for patients with pneumonia following the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP).
100 percent MedPAR, 2008‐2015.
Retrospective cohort study of Medicare discharges in HRRP‐eligible hospitals. Outcomes were 30‐day readmission rates for pneumonia under a “narrow” definition (used for the HRRP until October 2015; n = 2 288 644) and a “broad” definition that included certain diagnoses of sepsis and aspiration pneumonia (used since October 2015; n = 3 618 215). We estimated changes in 30‐day readmissions in the pre‐HRRP period (January 2008‐March 2010), the HRRP implementation period (April 2010‐September 2012), and the HRRP penalty period (October 2012‐June 2015).
Under the narrow definition, adjusted annual readmission rates changed by +0.07 percentage points (pp) during the pre‐HRRP period (95% CI: −0.03 pp, +0.18 pp), −1.07 pp during HRRP implementation (95% CI: −1.15 pp, −0.99 pp), and −0.09 pp during the penalty period (95% CI: −0.18 pp, −0.00 pp). Under the broad definition, 30‐day readmissions changed by +0.21 pp during the pre‐HRRP period (95% CI: +0.12 pp, +0.30 pp), −1.28 pp during HRRP implementation (95% CI: −1.35 pp, −1.21 pp), and −0.09 pp during the penalty period (95% CI: −0.16 pp, −0.02 pp).
Changes in the coding of inpatient pneumonia admissions do not explain readmission reduction following the HRRP.