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Pandey A, Keshvani N, Khera R, Lu D, Vaduganathan M, Joynt Maddox KE, Das SR, Kumbhani DJ, Goyal A, Girotra S, Chan P, Fonarow GC, Matsouaka R, Wang TY, de Lemos JA. Temporal Trends in Racial Differences in 30-Day Readmission and Mortality Rates After Acute Myocardial Infarction Among Medicare Beneficiaries. JAMA cardiology. 2020 Jan 8.
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Abstract: Importance: The association of the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) with reductions in racial disparities in 30-day outcomes for myocardial infarction (MI), is unknown, including whether this varies by HRRP hospital penalty status. Objective: To assess temporal trends in 30-day readmission and mortality rates among black and nonblack patients discharged after hospitalization for acute MI at low-performing and high-performing hospitals, as defined by readmission penalty status after HRRP implementation. Design, Setting, and Participants: This observational cohort analysis used data from the multicenter National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain-MI Registry centers that were subject to the first cycle of HRRP, between January 1, 2008, and November 30, 2016. All patients hospitalized with MI who were included in National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain-MI Registry were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed from April 2018 to September 2019. Exposures: Hospital performance category and race (black compared with nonblack patients). Centers were classified as high performing or low performing based on the excess readmission ratio (predicted to expected 30-day risk adjusted readmission rate) for MI during the first HRRP cycle (in October 2012). Main Outcomes and Measures: Thirty-day all-cause readmission and mortality rates. Results: Among 753 hospitals that treated 155 397 patients with acute MI (of whom 11 280 [7.3%] were black), 399 hospitals (53.0%) were high performing. Thirty-day readmission rates declined over time in both black and nonblack patients (annualized 30-day readmission rate: 17.9% vs 20.8%). Black (compared with nonblack) race was associated with higher unadjusted odds of 30-day readmission in both low-performing and high-performing centers (odds ratios: before HRRP: low-performing hospitals, 1.14 [95% CI, 1.03-1.26]; P = .01; high-performing hospitals, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.04-1.32]; P = .01; after HRRP: low-performing hospitals, 1.23 [95% CI, 1.13-1.34]; P < .001; high-performing hospitals, 1.25 [95% CI, 1.12-1.39]; P < .001). However, these racial differences were not significant after adjustment for patient characteristics. The 30-day mortality rates declined significantly over time in nonblack patients, with stable (nonsignificant) temporal trends among black patients. Adjusted associations between race and 30-day mortality showed that 30-day mortality rates were significantly lower among black (compared with nonblack) patients in the low-performing hospitals (odds ratios: pre-HRRP, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.63-0.97]; P = .03; post-HRRP, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.68-0.95]; P = .01) but not in high-performing hospitals. Finally, the association between race and 30-day outcomes did not vary after the HRRP period began in either high-performing or low-performing hospitals. Conclusions and Relevance: In this analysis, 30-day readmission rates among patients with MI declined over time for both black and nonblack patients. Differences in race-specific 30-day readmission rates persisted but appeared to be attributable to patient-level factors. The 30-day mortality rates have declined for nonblack patients and remained stable among black patients. Implementation of the HRRP was not associated with improvement or worsening of racial disparities in readmission and mortality rates.

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