Surgical readmission rates have declined in the past decade, and rates of decline increased during the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) period, this study finds.
Between 2005 and 2014, rates of readmission across 8 targeted procedures declined from 12.2% to 8.6%. Before the Affordable Care Act, rates of readmission were decreasing 0.060% per quarter. During HRRP implementation, the decline of readmissions increased 0.129% and continued declining at a rate of 0.118% during the HRRP penalty period.
The largest declines in surgical readmissions were seen in nontargeted procedures, and hospitals with the greatest reduction in medical readmissions also had the greatest decline in surgical readmissions.
During the past decade, there have been multiple national efforts to improve surgical care. Readmission rates are a key metric for assessing surgical quality. Whether surgical readmission rates have declined, and whether the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has had an influence is unclear.