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Preventing COPD readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: How far have we come?

The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was developed and implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to curb the rate of 30-day hospital readmissions for certain common, high-impact conditions. In October 2014, COPD became a target condition for which hospitals were penalized for excess readmissions. The appropriateness, utility, and potential unintended consequences of the metric have been a topic of debate since it was first enacted. Nevertheless, there is evidence that hospital policies broadly implemented in response to the HRRP may have been responsible for reducing the rate of readmissions following COPD hospitalizations even before it was added as a target condition. Since the addition of the COPD condition to the HRRP, several predictive models have been developed to predict COPD survival and readmissions, with the intention of identifying modifiable risk factors. A number of interventions have also been studied, with mixed results. Bundled care interventions using the electronic health record and patient education interventions for inhaler education have been shown to reduce readmissions, whereas pulmonary rehabilitation, follow-up visits, and self-management programs have not been consistently shown to do the same. Through this program, COPD has become recognized as a public health priority. However, 5 years after COPD became a target condition for HRRP, there continues to be no single intervention that reliably prevents readmissions in this patient population. Further research is needed to understand the long-term effects of the policy, the role of competing risks in measuring quality, the optimal postdischarge care for patients with COPD, and the integrated use of predictive modeling and advanced technologies to prevent COPD readmissions.

Authors: Press, Valerie G; Myers, Laura C; Feemster, Laura C

Chest. 2021 03;159(3):996-1006. Epub 2020-10-14.

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