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Congressmen Introduce Legislation to Alter Readmissions Penalties

March 10, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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A pair of Congressmen introduced legislation this week that aims to make 30-day readmissions penalties based on a hospital’s share of dual eligible patients, low-income seniors, or young people with a disability eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
 
Congressman Jim Renacci (O-16) and Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) say the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, would better account for socioeconomic factors that aren’t under consideration in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program. Often, those factors have a substantial impact on readmissions rates. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. 
 
“As a former businessman with a long record of experience in the health care industry, it’s clear that the HRRP unfairly penalizes safety-net and teaching hospitals – taking valuable resources from those who are in need of them most,” Congressman Renacci said in a statement. “There is no question that this money could be better spent helping patients avoid rehospitalization. Our bill reflects that.”
 
The legislation would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to exclude certain categories of patients who are readmitted out of necessity or due to outside factors. It also asks that recommendations based on the IMPACT Act, which was signed into law in October of last year and requires HHS to conduct studies on the effect of socioeconomic status in health outcomes, to evaluate readmissions rates. 
 
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