New research from the University of Michigan Medical School indicates that penalties for readmissions of chronic lung disease patients will have a greater impact on hospitals that care for poor and minority patients.

The findings are published in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. For the study, researchers evaluated three years of data on 3,018 hospitals that cared for patients with COPD. They found that, based on readmission rates in the past, teaching hospitals and safety-net hospitals, which care for a higher percentage of COPD patients with aggravating social and/or medical complexities, will bear the brunt of the new financial penalties.

“If patients can’t afford medications, or have unstable housing situation, they may end up being readmitted to the hospital,” study co-author Michael Sjoding, M.D., said. “No interventions to date have effectively and sustainably reduced COPD readmissions, so it’s unclear what a hospital can do to prevent them.”

The study is available here.

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