769 hospitals see Medicare payments cut over high HAC rates: 7 things to know

The federal government will cut 769 hospitals' Medicare payments in fiscal year 2017 for having the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions.

This is the first year the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in the form of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile infections, was included in the assessment. Affected hospitals will lose 1 percent of Medicare payments from October 2016 to September 2017.

Here are seven things to know about the HAC Reduction Program and the penalized hospitals.

1. The Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program was created under the ACA to incentivize hospitals to curb hospital-acquired conditions. 

2. In FY 2017, 769 of the 3,313 hospitals subject to the HAC Reduction Program rank in the worst-performing quartile of hospitals that reported hospital-acquired conditions. 

3. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates hospitals will lose approximately $430 million in total as a result of the Medicare payment cuts — 18 percent more than last year, Kaiser Health News reports. CMS did not release the dollar amount of the penalties, although many large hospitals could see payment reductions in the millions, according to the report.

4. A Kaiser Health News analysis found 306 hospitals penalized this year were not punished in the HAC Reduction Program's first two years.

5. The worst-performing quartile for the FY 2017 HAC Reduction Program was determined by calculating a total HAC score based on hospitals' performance on six quality measures: the Patient Safety Indicators 90 Composite, central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, MRSA infections and C. diff infections.

6. Hospitals with a total HAC score above the 75th percentile of the total HAC score distribution were subject to the Medicare payment cut.

7. A list of the 769 hospitals penalized for FY 2017 can be found here.     

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