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Readmissions and postdischarge mortality by race and ethnicity among Medicare beneficiaries with multimorbidity.

Wei MY, Cho J. Readmissions and postdischarge mortality by race and ethnicity among Medicare beneficiaries with multimorbidity. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2023 Jun 1; 71(6):1749-1758.

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BACKGROUND: Disparities in readmission risk and reasons they might exist among diverse complex patients with multimorbidity, disability, and unmet social needs have not been clearly established. These characteristics may be underestimated in claims-based studies where individual-level data are limited. We sought to examine the risk of readmissions and postdischarge mortality by race and ethnicity after rigorous adjustment for multimorbidity, physical functioning, and sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. METHODS: We used Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data linked to Medicare claims. To obtain ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes to compute the ICD-coded multimorbidity-weighted index (MWI-ICD) we used Medicare Parts A and B (inpatient, outpatient, carrier) files between 1991-2015. Participants must have had at least one hospitalization between January 1, 2000 and September 30, 2015 and continuous enrollment in fee-for-service Medicare Part A 1-year prior to hospitalization. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the association of MWI-ICD with 30-day readmissions and mortality 1-year postdischarge. Using HRS data, we adjusted for age, sex, BMI, smoking, physical activity, education, household net worth, and living arrangement/marital status, and examined for effect modification by race and ethnicity. RESULTS: The final sample of 10,737 participants had mean?±?SD age 75.9?±?8.7?years. Hispanic adults had the highest mean MWI-ICD (16.4?±?10.1), followed by similar values for White (mean 14.8?±?8.9) and Black (14.7?±?8.9) adults. MWI-ICD was associated with a higher odds of readmission, and there was no significant effect modification by race and ethnicity. For postdischarge mortality, a 1-point increase MWI-ICD was associated with a 3% higher odds of mortality (OR  =  1.03, 95% CI: 1.03-1.04), which did not significantly differ by race and ethnicity. CONCLUSIONS: Multimorbidity was associated with a monotonic increased odds of 30-day readmission and 1-year postdischarge mortality across all race and ethnicity groups. There was no significant difference in readmission or mortality risk by race and ethnicity after robust adjustment.

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