Voluntary value-based programs reduce hospital readmissions, study shows

Participation in voluntary value-based reforms is associated with greater reductions in 30-day risk-standardized readmission rates under Medicare’s Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study of 2,837 hospitals in the U.S. between 2008 and 2015 shows that participation in at least one Medicare value-based reimbursement program led to lower readmission rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia. The three value-based models studied were the Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records program, the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) programs and the Bundled Payment for Care Initiative (BPCI).

As Michigan News writes, “when looking at the combined impact of the three voluntary programs to improve hospital quality and value, researchers found 2,400 fewer people out of nearly 275,000 heading back to the hospital, and a savings in 2015 of $32 million from reduced readmissions.”

"This, to us, was encouraging and makes us think there is a reason to believe these value programs are reinforcing the broader push to value-based care," lead author Andrew Ryan, associate professor in the School of Public Health Department of Health Management and Policy, told Michigan News. "Our findings show the importance of a multi-pronged Medicare strategy to improve quality and value."

The study also underscores how rapidly hospitals are adopting value-based reimbursement programs. No hospitals in the study were participating in Meaningful Use, ACOs, or BPCI in 2010. By 2015, however, 2,781 of the 2,837 hospitals – or 98 percent – were participating in at least one of the programs.

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