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AAMC Applauds Members of Congress for Addressing Flaw in Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

Washington, D.C., March 10, 2015—AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement in support of the introduction of the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmissions Program Act of 2015 (H.R. 1343) in the U.S. House of Representatives and the companion bill (S. 688) in the Senate:

 “The AAMC commends Rep. Renacci (R-Ohio), Rep. Engel (D-N.Y.), Sen. Portman (R-Ohio), and Sen. Manchin (D-W.Va.) for introducing the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmissions Program Act of 2015. This important legislation will help to ensure that hospitals treating our nation’s most medically complex and vulnerable patients are not unfairly and disproportionately penalized by the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP).

The HRRP requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to penalize hospitals that have “excess” readmissions compared with expectations. However, the causes of readmissions are complex, and strong evidence clearly links low socioeconomic status to higher rates of readmission. CMS does not currently consider socioeconomic status when determining the “expected” number of readmissions. This legislation requiring CMS to account for socioeconomic status will measure quality of care more accurately and is an essential improvement to the HRRP.

Medical schools and teaching hospitals are leading efforts to understand and reduce preventable readmissions. By fixing this flaw in the current HRRP, we can ensure that the institutions providing care to the most vulnerable Americans are not unfairly penalized, and all Americans receive the health care they need.”

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The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 147 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their nearly 160,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 115,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.

Contact

Susan Beach   
202-828-0983
sbeach@aamc.org