A new study suggests that the decline in avoidable hospital readmissions of Medicare patients driven by the federal program’s hospital readmissions reduction program may be harming cardiac patients.

According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, while the readmissions reduction program has reduced readmissions among heart failure patients from 20 percent before the program was launched to 18.4 percent, the mortality rate among the same patients rose from 7.2 percent to 8.6 percent – 5400 more deaths a year.

To learn more about the study, its results, why experts believe this  may be happening, and information about studies that did not reach a similar conclusion, go here to see the JAMA Cardiology article “Association of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program Implementation With Readmission and Mortality Outcomes in Heart Failure.”