Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. COPD is expensive to treat, whereas the quality of care is difficult to evaluate due to the high prevalence of multi-morbidity among COPD patients. In the US, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) was initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to penalize hospitals for excessive 30-day readmission rates for six diseases, including COPD. This study examines the difference in 30-day readmission risk between COPD patients with and without comorbidities.
In this retrospective cohort study, we used Cox regression to estimate the hazard ratio of 30-day readmission rates for COPD patients who had no comorbidity and those who had one, two or three, or four or more comorbidities. We controlled for individual, hospital and geographic factors. Data came from three sources: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID), Area Health Resources Files (AHRF) and the American Hospital Association’s (AHA's) annual survey database for the year of 2013.
COPD patients with comorbidities were less likely to be readmitted within 30 days relative to patients without comorbidities (aHR from 0.84 to 0.87, p < 0.05). In a stratified analysis, female patients with one comorbidity had a lower risk of 30-day readmission compared to female patients without comorbidity (aHR = 0.80, p < 0.05). Patients with public insurance who had comorbidities were less likely to be readmitted within 30 days in comparison with those who had no comorbidity (aHR from 0.79 to 0.84, p < 0.05).