CMS cuts payments to 774 hospitals over patient complications

CMS will trim 774 hospitals' Medicare payments in fiscal year 2021 for having the highest rates of patient injuries and infections. 

Five things to know: 

1. Created under the ACA, the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program aims to prevent harm to patients by providing a financial incentive for hospitals to prevent hospital-acquired conditions. Under the program, a hospital's total score is based on performance on several quality measures, including rates of infections, blood clots, bedsores and other complications that occur in hospitals and might have been prevented. 

2. Each year, Medicare cuts payments by 1 percent for hospitals that fall in the worst-performing quartile. The fiscal year 2021 penalties are based on patients who stayed in the hospital between mid-2017 and 2019, according to Kaiser Health News.

3. In February, CMS identified the 774 hospitals that will have their Medicare payments reduced for patients discharged in fiscal year 2021. The penalties will be applied as hospitals submit claims for Medicare reimbursement.

4. The hospital industry has argued the program's design causes hospitals that do the best job of testing for infections to appear among the worst based on statistics, while those with less thorough testing might appear better than they should.

5. The Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program is in its seventh year. Seventy-seven hospitals have been penalized all seven years, according to Kaiser Health News

Read the full Kaiser Health News article here

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