Reimbursement Penalties and 30-Day Readmissions Following Total Joint Arthroplasty

Christopher S. Hollenbeak, Maureen R.N. Spencer, Amber L. Schilling, David Kirschman, Kathy L. Warye, Javad Parvizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP). Under these programs, hospitals face reimbursement reductions for having high rates of readmission and hospital-acquired conditions. This study investigated whether readmission following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) under the HRRP was associated with reimbursement penalties under the HACRP. Methods: Hospital-level data on hospital-acquired conditions, readmissions, and financial penalties were obtained from Definitive Healthcare. Outcomes included receipt of an HACRP penalty and the associated losses in revenue in 2018. Logistic regression and linear regression models were used to determine whether the all-cause, 30-day readmission rate following TJA was associated with the receipt or magnitude of an HACRP penalty. Results: Among 2,135 private, acute care hospitals, 477 (22.3%) received an HACRP penalty. After controlling for other patient and hospital characteristics, hospitals with a 30-day readmission rate of >3% after TJA had over twice the odds of receiving an HACRP penalty (odds ratio, 2.20; p = 0.043). In addition, hospitals with a readmission rate of >3% after TJA incurred $77,519 more in revenue losses due to HACRP penalties (p = 0.011). These effects were magnified in higher-volume hospitals. Conclusions: Acute care hospitals in the United States with higher 30-day readmission rates following TJA are more likely to be penalized and to have greater revenue losses under the HACRP than hospitals with lower readmission rates after TJA. This strengthens the incentive to invest in the prevention of readmissions after TJA, for example, through greater efforts to reduce surgical site infections and other modifiable risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1900072
JournalJBJS Open Access
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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