Effect of a Novel, Evidence-Based, Standardized Discharge Checklist on 30-Day All-Cause Readmissions in Patients Hospitalized for Heart Failure in an Urban Safety Net Hospital

      Safety net hospitals frequently incur financial penalties for high readmission rates. Heart failure (HF) is a common driver of readmissions, but effectively lowering readmission rates in patients with HF has proved challenging. There are few evidence-based interventions validated within safety net systems. Between October 2018 and April 2019, we implemented an evidence-based discharge checklist. We evaluated the hypothesis that it would reduce 30-day all-cause readmissions in patients admitted for HF at an urban safety net hospital. We retrospectively compared all-cause 30-day readmission rates between the cohort discharged using the checklist and historical controls. Demographics were similar between the intervention (n = 103) and control (n = 187) groups and reflected the diverse and vulnerable population cared for in the safety net. The mean age was 60 years, 71% were male, 42% were Black, 22% were Hispanic/Latinx, 28% were not housed, 35% used illicit stimulants, and 73% had a left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40%. Use of the checklist was associated with a 12.4% absolute reduction in the 30-day readmission rate (29.9% vs 17.5%, p = 0.02). The intervention group was more likely to be discharged on appropriate guideline-directed medical therapy for reduced systolic function, including β blockers (93% vs 73%, p = 0.0004), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blockers (92% vs 66%, p <0.0001) and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (50% vs 27%, p = 0.0007).
      Multivariable analysis demonstrated that using the discharge checklist was associated with a lower risk of 30-day all-cause readmission (risk ratio 0.54, 0.33 to 0.90). Therefore, a low-cost, novel, evidence-based discharge checklist significantly reduced 30-day all-cause readmission rates in patients hospitalized for HF at a safety net hospital.
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      2. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, most common diagnoses for inpatient stays. Available at: Accessed on January 26, 2022.

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