The Impact of Rurality on 30-Day Preventable Readmission, Illness Severity, and Risk of Mortality for Heart Failure Medicare Home Health Beneficiaries

Hsueh Fen Chen, Erin Carlson, Taiye Popoola, Sumihiro Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To examine the impact of rurality on 30-day preventable readmission, and the illness severity and risk of mortality for 30-day preventable readmissions. Methods: We analyzed heart failure Medicare beneficiaries who received home health services for postacute care after hospital discharge in 2009. The study was a cross-sectional design with the unit of analysis as the home health episode for postacute care. Data sources included the following: Medicare Beneficiary Summary File, Medicare Provider Analysis Review, Outcome Assessment Information Set, Home Health Agency Research Identifiable File, and Area Health Resources File. The dependent variables were 30-day preventable readmission, and the extreme/major level of illness severity and of risk of mortality for a 30-day preventable readmission. The key independent variable was rurality defined as remote rural, adjacent rural, and micropolitan areas, with urban areas in the reference group. Findings: Home health beneficiaries in remote rural areas had 27% lower 30-day preventable readmission than those in urban areas. Home health beneficiaries in adjacent rural areas were 33% less likely to have high illness severity at readmission due to a preventable condition than those in urban areas. Conclusions: Geographical location affects preventable readmission and illness severity of preventable readmission. Patients' geographic location along with patients' risk factors should be taken into consideration in the risk adjustment model for the financial incentive program that penalizes home health agencies with high preventable readmissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Home health
  • Illness severity
  • Preventable readmission
  • Risk of mortality
  • Rural

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