CMS push to curb HACs dings level 1 trauma centers, says Carilion's quality chief

CMS' Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program offers a narrow view into the quality and safety at level 1 trauma centers, Jonathan Gleason, MD, chief quality officer for Roanoke, Va.-based Carilion Clinic, told WDBJ 7.

Carilion's Roanoke Memorial Hospital ranked in the bottom 25 percent of all medical centers this year and will see a $1.8 million cut in Medicare reimbursement through the program. The level 1 trauma center cares for some of the region's sickest patients and has been penalized by CMS every year since the HAC Reduction Program launched in 2014.

"I think that this program represents a very narrow view of quality and safety," Dr. Gleason said. "Many centers that are level 1 trauma centers, which provide the most sophisticated care, will wind up in the bottom quartile of HAC reduction programs, simply because of the complexity of the work that we do, and our patients are at high risk of infections."

Of the five level 1 trauma centers in Virginia, four landed in the bottom 25 percent, including Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Nationally, CMS will trim 800 hospitals' Medicare reimbursements for their quality performance.

Editor's note: This article was updated March 22 at 1:15 p.m.

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