Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Medicare cuts 11 Ky. hospitals for patient-safety issues; repeaters in Louisville, Danville, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Paducah, Florence

The federal government is penalizing 11 Kentucky hospitals for falling short on patient safety in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, two more than last year.

Medicare has imposed a 1 percent cut in payments to 769 U.S. hospitals that have high rates of potentially avoidable infections and complications such as blood clots, bedsores and falls. "The reductions apply not only to patient stays but also will reduce the amount of money hospitals get to teach medical residents and care for low-income people," Kaiser Health News reports.

This is the third year of the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, created by the 2010 health reform law, but the first year that "the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs" has figured in the assessment, Kaiser notes. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality "estimates there were 3.8 million hospital injuries last year, which translates to 115 injuries during every 1,000 patient hospital stays."

The many rural hospitals that are designated "critical access" are not subject to the penalties. Neither are "specialized hospitals, such as those that treat psychiatric patients, veterans and children," Rau notes.

"Of the remaining hospitals, the Affordable Care Act requires that Medicare penalize the 25 percent that perform the worst on these measures, even if they have reduced infection rates from previous years," Rau reports. The list of penalized hospitals is at; it's also available as a PDF or in a sortable Excel file.

University Hospital and Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare, both in Louisville and part of KentuckyOne Health, are on the penalty list for the third straight year.

Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville and Jennie Stuart Medical Center in Hopkinsville were penalized last year and are also on the list this year.

Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas and Baptist Health Paducah are being penalized for the first time. Nationally, "40 percent of the hospitals penalized this year escaped punishment in the first two years," Kaiser reports.

The University of Kentucky hospital, Lourdes Hospital in Paducah and St. Elizabeth Florence, which were penalized two years ago but not last year, are on this year's penalty list.

Hospitals that were penalized last year but are NOT being penalized this year are Georgetown Community Hospital, Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville; Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care in Mount Vernon; Saint Joseph East in Lexington; and Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville.

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