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SHM Sends Letter of Support for Legislation to Improve the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

September 15, 2015

SHM's Policy Efforts

SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.

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The Honorable James Renacci
House of Representatives
328 Cannon House Office Building
Washington DC, 20515

Dear Representative Renacci:

The Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) is pleased to offer its support of H.R. 1343, the Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act of 2015. The bill addresses serious concerns about the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program by seeking reforms that better reflect the realities of patient care and the ability for healthcare providers to prevent readmissions.

SHM represents the nation’s more than 48,000 hospitalists who work primarily in acute inpatient settings. They specialize in caring for hospitalized patients, including large numbers of Medicare, Medicaid, and dually-eligible beneficiaries. Hospitalists are leaders in care coordination and in efforts to reduce hospital readmissions through safe and effective care transitions.

The Readmissions Reduction Program needs fine tuning to better account for preventable readmissions—those within the reasonable control of healthcare providers. Currently, the program continues to use a questionable 30-day readmission threshold and also fails to take into account the realities of caring for patients with varying needs and illnesses. This legislation will help account for these differences among patients and prevent the risk of unfair penalties being imposed on hospitals and providers who treat our most vulnerable patients.

SHM greatly appreciates your leadership and commitment to refining the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and improving the efficiency of the healthcare system. We look forward to continued work with you in securing the passage of this important legislation.

Robert Harrington, Jr., MD, SFHM
President, Society of Hospital Medicine