CMS cuts payments to 800 hospitals for patient safety incidents

CMS will trim 800 hospitals' Medicare payments in fiscal year 2019 for having the highest rates of patient injuries and infections. 

Four 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 six quality measures. Each year, Medicare cuts payments by 1 percent for hospitals that fall in the worst-performing quartile.

2. Eight-hundred hospitals will have their Medicare payments reduced for patients discharged between last October and this September, according to Kaiser Health News. The penalties will be applied as hospitals submit claims to Medicare for reimbursement.

3. The hospital industry has argued the methodology used for the HAC Reduction Program doesn't recognize improvement, because roughly 700 to 800 hospitals will lose money every year even if they improved their safety records. According to Kaiser Health News, 110 hospitals are being penalized in fiscal year 2019 for the fifth straight time.

4. The hospital industry also argues the HAC Reduction 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, according to Kaiser Health News.

Access the full Kaiser Health News article here

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