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Hundreds of Hospitals Penalized for Medical Mistakes

786 hospitals will see their Medicare payments slashed one percent for a year because of their performance under Medicare’s hospital-acquired conditions reduction program.

That program penalizes the 25 percent of hospitals with the highest rate of patient safety problems, such as infections and injuries.

Among the more interesting aspects of this year’s program results:

  • Among those being penalized are seven of the 21 hospitals on the S. News “best hospitals” list.
  • Three hospitals also on that list have never been penalized.
  • 145 hospitals will be penalized for the first time.
  • 16 hospitals that have been penalized every year since the program’s launch six years ago will not be penalized for the first time.

Since the program’s launch, 1865 of the 5276 hospitals that participate in the program have been penalized.

NASH has long been concerned about the manner in which the hospital-acquired conditions reduction program works, including its failure to reflect improved performance by individual hospitals and its approach of comparing the performance of hospitals that serve very different patients under very different circumstances.

Learn more about Medicare’s hospital-acquired conditions reduction program and this year’s penalties in the Kaiser Health News article “Preeminent Hospitals Penalized Over Rates Of Patients’ Injuries.”

 

800 Hospitals Face Medicare Penalties

800 hospitals will see their Medicare payments reduced one percent this year because they are among the 25 percent of hospitals in the U.S. with the highest rate of hospital-acquired conditions.

Among the 800 hospitals are 110 that are being penalized for the fifth year in a row.

Medicare’s hospital-acquired condition reduction program tracks a variety of medical problems, including infections, blood clots, sepsis, hip fractures, bedsores, and others.  Every year, the 25 percent of eligible providers – the program excludes significant numbers of hospitals – are penalized even if their performance for hospital-acquired conditions is superior to the previous year.

Critics of the program say it creates unachievable goals and  penalizes hospitals that are doing an excellent job of reducing hospital-acquired conditions and that there is virtually no statistical difference in performance between some hospitals that are and some hospitals that are not penalized.  Program proponents maintain that all hospitals can and should do an even better job than they already are of reducing their patients’ hospital-acquired conditions.

NASH has long been concerned about the degree to which private safety-net hospitals are at a disadvantage in such programs because of the disproportionately large numbers of low-income patients they serve who pose special health and socio-economic challenges when hospitalized.

Learn more about Medicare’s hospital-acquired conditions reduction program, the penalties some hospitals face in the coming year, and the arguments for and against the program in the Kaiser Health News article “Medicare Trims Payments To 800 Hospitals, Citing Patient Safety Incidents.”