66 Indiana hospitals hit with $12M in readmission penalties from Medicare

Sixty-six Indiana hospitals will have Medicare payments docked in 2019 by a total of about $12 million from 30-day readmissions — up from $9 million in penalties three years ago, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.

Five things to know:

1. CMS outlined the latest penalties in a September report. Eighty percent of Indiana's hospitals are facing penalties. The state is ranked 29th nationally for percentage of hospitals penalized.

2. The fines come from readmissions between July 2014 and July 2017. They include Medicare patients originally hospitalized for heart failure, heart attacks, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, hip and knee replacements and coronary-artery bypass graft surgeries.

3. To curb readmission rates, hospitals are sending patients home with discharge instructions and a month's worth of medications. They are also sending nurses and aides to discharged patients' homes for checkups. Patients can also receive vouchers for cabs or van shuttles to travel to their primary care physicians for follow-up care.

4. The hospital facing the highest penalty in central Indiana is Community Hospital North in Indianapolis, which will see its Medicare reimbursements docked 1.56 percent — over twice what it saw last year (0.74 percent).

5. Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health was the only statewide system with no hospitals among the 20 in the state with the highest readmission rates.

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