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The Hilltop Institute


January 16, 2020

UMBC’s Hilltop Institute and UMB SOM’s Department of Emergency Medicine to Develop Algorithm to Augment
30-Day All-Cause Readmission Measure

The Hilltop Institute at UMBC, in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s (UMB SOM’s) Department of Emergency Medicine, has just received funding to develop and test a measure of hospital quality that assesses hospitals based on the frequency of downstream clinically relevant readmissions (DCRR) as opposed to blanket 30-day all-cause readmissions.

The 30-day all-cause readmission measure has been a key hospital quality metric for many years and has achieved even greater status since the establishment of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) in 2012. Both the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) measure and report on readmissions as a key assessment of hospital quality, with the goal of enabling health care consumers to make better decisions when choosing their providers. These quality measures are increasingly being used in determining payment, with the Medicare hospital and skilled nursing facility value-based purchasing programs withholding a certain percentage of revenue unless the facilities attain a satisfactory ranking when compared to their peers. Thus, hospitals have significant incentives to perform well—especially to increase their consumer base and maximize their potential per-service revenue.

The research team, led by Hilltop Senior Director of Analytics and Research Ian Stockwell, PhD, MA, and University of Maryland emergency physician and Professor Jon Mark Hirshon, MD, PhD, MPH, will use national commercial health insurance data from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) to develop the DCRR classification algorithm that will identify key clinical and demographic predictors of a readmission, and allow for a normalization of readmission measures across hospitals.

The UMBC/Hilltop-UMB SOM partnership is one of 19 recipients of new grants from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature research program Health Data for Action, managed by AcademyHealth, which makes valuable data from unique data owners available to researchers to answer important research questions. The grant will provide the research team access to the HCCI data for one year. Read more here.

The research is being funded through a collaboration between UMBC’s Offices of the Provost and Vice President of Research and a University of Maryland Emergency Medicine Associates Medical Research Pilot Grant.

To learn more, contact Ian Stockwell or Jon Mark Hirshon.

The Hilltop Institute is a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people and communities. We conduct cutting-edge data analytics and translational research on behalf of government agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations to inform public policy at the national, state, and local levels.

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