Original Article

A Comparison of Congestive Heart Failure Readmissions among Teaching and Nonteaching Hospital Services

Authors: Carlos Palacio, MD, MPH, Jeffrey House, DO, Saif Ibrahim, MD, Jean N. Touchan, MD, Ariana Mooradian, MPH


Objectives: Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of hospitalization in the United States. With the population trend shifting to a higher volume of elderly adults, the efficient management of HF will become increasingly essential. The development and implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and subsequent changes in reimbursement practices have made 30-day readmission rates a topic of much interest and relevance. The aim of the study was to compare rates of readmission among teaching and nonteaching hospitals.

Methods: The authors gathered retrospective data on HF quality measures and readmission rates between August 2011 and July 2012, extracted from the institution’s managerial accounting database. These data were compared among teaching and nonteaching hospitals. Patient demographics, readmission rates, readmission diagnoses, severity of illness, patient disposition, medications prescribed, cost of services, and mortality were reviewed. Analysis of variance was used for continuous variables; χ 2 analysis was used for evaluating categorical variables.

Results: A higher proportion of patients on the cardiology teaching service were men than on either the medicine teaching service or the medicine nonteaching service. Length of stay, case costs, and care costs were lowest for the cardiology teaching service; however, patient illness severity was lower on this service than on the other two services. Overall, readmissions and mortality were similar among all groups, but readmission for the same diagnosis was more likely on the cardiology service than on the medicine teaching and nonteaching services.

Conclusions: Studies comparing teaching and nonteaching providers for an HF diagnosis are needed. Hospital readmission and mortality rates were similar across services and compared favorably with national data. Opportunities that target cost reduction and length of stay may be leveraged.

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