Association Between Racial Disparities in Hospital Length of Stay and the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

Link to article at PubMed

Health Serv Res Manag Epidemiol. 2021 Aug 31;8:23333928211042454. doi: 10.1177/23333928211042454. eCollection 2021 Jan-Dec.


BACKGROUND: On average Black patients have longer LOS than comparable White patients. Longer hospital length of stay (LOS) may be associated with higher readmission risk. However, evidence suggests that the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) reduced overall racial differences in 30-day adjusted readmission risk. Yet, it is unclear whether the HRRP narrowed these LOS racial differences.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between Medicare-insured Black-White differences in average, adjusted LOS (ALOS) and the HRRP's implementation and evaluation periods.

METHODS: Using 2009-2017 data from State Inpatient Dataset from New York, New Jersey, and Florida, we employed an interrupted time series analysis with multivariate generalized regression models controlling for patient, disease, and hospital characteristics. Results are reported per 100 admissions.

RESULTS: We found that for those discharged home, Black-White ALOS differences significantly widened by 4.15 days per 100 admissions (95% CI: 1.19 to 7.11, P < 0.001) for targeted conditions from before to after the HRRP implementation period, but narrowed in the HRRP evaluation period by 1.84 days per 100 admissions for every year-quarter (95% CI: -2.86 to -0.82, P < 0.001); for those discharged to non-home destinations, there was no significant change between HRRP periods, but ALOS differences widened over the study period. Black-White ALOS differences for non-targeted conditions remained unchanged regardless of HRRP phase and discharge destination.

CONCLUSION: Increased LOS for Black patients may have played a role in reducing Black-White disparities in 30-day readmission risks for targeted conditions among patients discharged to home.

PMID:34485622 | PMC:PMC8411641 | DOI:10.1177/23333928211042454

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