Feds cut funds to 30 Ga. hospitals over infections, injuries

The federal government is cutting payments to 30 Georgia hospitals for high levels of infections and patient injuries. Of those hospitals, 16 were penalized last year for the same problems. The new Medicare crackdown on hospital-acquired infections and preventable injuries is similar to the existing federal penalties on excessive numbers of readmission of patients within 30 days after discharge.

Overall, 758 U.S. hospitals are getting the new penalties, which means they will have their Medicare payments lowered by 1 percent.

The Georgia hospitals receiving the penalties include some of the largest and best-known facilities in the state, from metro Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah to rural hospitals around the state. (Here’s a link to the complete list.)

The fines are based on the government’s assessment of the frequency of several kinds of infections, sepsis, hip fractures and other complications, Kaiser Health News reported Thursday. In total, Medicare estimates the penalties will cost hospitals $364 million.

The penalties were created by the Affordable Care Act. Exempted from the medical error penalties are hundreds of hospitals that provide specialized treatments such as psychiatry and rehabilitation or because they treat particular types of patients, such as children or military veterans. Small “critical access hospitals” located in rural areas are also exempted.

About the Author: Andy Miller; Is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News.

(1) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/l-rhr101216.php(2) http://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/georgia-state-plans-new-downtown-infectious-disease-research-center/Ma4IQJkK0IPvDbDBZlwcCJ/ (3) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/ksu-zvi101316.php(4) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tuberculosis-top-ten-killer-who-report_us_57feab2be4b0e8c198a5e095(5) http://www.undispatch.com/beware-global-superbug/

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