Virginia hospitals among those penalized by Medicare

Photo via Pixabay

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Medicare reduced payments to 800 hospitals across the country this year, penalizing them for high numbers of injuries and infections among patients, according to Kaiser Health News. Eighteen of those hospitals were in Virginia.

The penalties are part of a program set up under the Affordable Care Act designed to improve quality of care through pay-for-performance incentives. A quarter of hospitals with the highest rates of infections or patient injuries lose 1 percent of their Medicare payments.

The sanctions come on top of more payments that Medicare docked hospitals for their high rates of readmission. According to Kaiser Health News, 64 Virginia hospitals were penalized for having too many patients wind up back in their care within 30 days of leaving the hospital. Kaiser Health News has the full list.

The hospitals whose Medicare payments were reduced by 1 percent due to complications, like infections or patient injury, include:

  • Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke
  • VCU Health System in Richmond
  • Novant Health UVA Prince William Medical Center in Manassas
  • Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg
  • Bedford Memorial Hospital
  • Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital in Rocky Mount
  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax
  • Hiram Davis Medical Center in Petersburg
  • Reston Hospital Center
  • Chippenham and Johnston-Willis hospitals in Richmond
  • Lewisgale Hospital Pulaski
  • Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital
  • Chesapeake General Hospital
  • Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center in Arlington
  • Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Fredericksburg

Many of those hospitals had received penalties in the past, as well.

According to a statement from Julian Walker, spokesman for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the group has worked to reduce readmissions and healthcare-associated conditions with its 110 member hospitals through its Center for Excellence, founded in 2015.

“When we examine the condition-specific categories on which Medicare evaluates readmission rate changes, hospitals in Virginia have recorded marked improvement across several categories, including hip and knee replacement post-surgery readmission, and readmission for patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass grafting procedures,” he said in an emailed statement.

Walker said 35 participating hospitals prevented 1,851 “patient harm incidents” between Sept. 2015 and Sept. 2016 during the Hospital Engagement Network 2.0 initiative, “yielding $16.5 million in health care cost savings.”