79 Calif. Hospitals Penalized by CMS for Infection, Injury Rates
On Thursday, CMS announced that 721 hospitals -- including 79 in California -- are being penalized for excessive rates of infections and other patient injuries in the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program's first year, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (Aguilera, "KPCC News," KPCC, 12/18/14).
Background on Program
The HAC reduction program is the latest Affordable Care Act program to impose Medicare penalties on hospitals that do not meet performance benchmarks.
For the HAC program, CMS has assessed rates of 10 patient injuries at hospitals, including:
- Bed sores;
- Blood clots;
- Blood stream infections;
- Collapsed lungs;
- Cuts that occur during or after surgery;
- Patient falls; and
- Urinary tract infections.
CMS calculates each facility's HAC score on a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the greatest rate of patient harm. Hospitals that scored a seven or higher are being penalized a full 1% of their inpatient revenues as of Oct. 1, 2014 (California Healthline, 6/24/14).
Details About the FY 2015 Penalties
According to Kaiser Health News, one in seven hospitals across the U.S. will face a 1% reduction in Medicare payments through the HAC reduction program in FY 2015. Academic medical centers are especially affected by the penalties, with half facing penalties in the program's first year.
The penalties are the most extensive government effort to reduce patient harm in hospitals to date (Rau, Kaiser Health News, 12/18/14).
CMS estimates that the HAC reduction program will reduce overall Medicare payments by about $330 million in 2015 (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 12/18/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.