New research finds children’s hospitals being penalised for readmissions

15 February 2016 (Last Updated February 15th, 2016 18:30)

A new study has revealed that children's hospitals in the US are being penalised for patient readmissions due to factors beyond their control.

A new study has revealed that children’s hospitals in the US are being penalised for patient readmissions due to factors beyond their control.

Conducted by a group of researchers from children’s hospitals, including a University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty member in the US, the study concluded that pay-for-performance measures might penalise hospitals treating children from deprived or ethnically backward minorities or are publicly insured, in an unequal way.

The result of the study on the state Medicaid readmission pay-for-performance policies and social determinants of health have been published in an article titled ‘Association of Social Determinants with Children’s Hospitals’ Preventable Readmissions Performance.’

"Studies like ours show that patients who are poorer or are minorities are readmitted at higher rates than other patients."

University of Colorado School of Medicine paediatrics associate professor Marion Sills said: "Studies like ours show that patients who are poorer or are minorities are readmitted at higher rates than other patients, which raises concern that the readmissions penalties punish hospitals for the type of patients that they serve, rather than purely for the quality of care they provide."

The pay for performance styled financial penalty is believed to affect hospitals that readmit children irrespective of their background and works with the sole aim to treat patients.

Policymakers have recommended a further study before adopting risk adjustment factors that would reduce penalties for hospitals that care for more patients with social determinants of health risk factors.

Approximately 179,400 hospital discharges from 43 hospitals across the country were reviewed by the research team. While the hospital discharges occurred in 2013, the analysis was conducted in July-August last year.

The researchers analysed 15-day and 30-day readmission rates.