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Lawmaker: Readmission fines should reflect patient demographics

The Plain Dealer, March 12, 2014
Hospitals that serve low-income patients who lack the resources to prevent relapses should not face unfair government fines if their readmission rates are higher than other hospitals, says Wadsworth Republican Rep. Jim Renacci. The Wadsworth Republican on Tuesday led a bipartisan group of legislators who introduced a bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to adjust the formula it uses to fine hospitals with high readmission rates to reflect the institution's share of low-income patients who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Renacci, a businessman who ran several nursing homes before he was elected to Congress, says hospitals that treat the nation's most vulnerable patients are being unfairly penalized by a Hospital Readmission Reduction Program established in 2012.