Statement on Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act
AHA Statement on S. 688/H.R. 1343
Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital
Readmission Program Act
Executive Vice President
American Hospital Association
March 10, 2015
When recovering from illness or injury, everyone wants to get better as quickly as possible. That’s why hospitals are strongly committed to reducing unnecessary readmissions. Today’s legislation will improve the fairness of CMS’ readmissions program and help ensure hospitals have the critical resources needed to care for their most vulnerable patients.
The readmissions program currently does not recognize sociodemographic factors outside of a hospital’s control that affect a patient’s health, and their likelihood of being readmitted. For example, many patients simply cannot afford the treatments necessary to ensure recovery from illness and injury. Community services, such as primary care, mental health services, physical therapy and easy access to appropriate food, are not available to some patients when they are released from the hospital.
The legislation will greatly improve the fairness of readmission penalties by taking into account both the proportion of the hospital’s patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and the patients’ sociodemographic status. This recalibration ensures hospital performance is compared equally while maintaining an incentive for all hospitals to reduce unnecessary readmissions.
We applaud Senators Rob Portman and Joe Manchin and Representatives James Renacci and Eliot Engel for their leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with Congress to make the legislation a reality.
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About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.
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