Connecticut Hospitals Penalized for High Infection Rates

Connecticut Hospitals are facing penalties in 2016. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this month that 758 of the nation’s hospitals – about 23% of all eligible hospitals – would be penalized for patient safety lapses in the second year of the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which was mandated by federal health care reform. The penalties are based on rates of infections and other complications that have occurred in hospitals between 2012 and 2014.

Eighteen Connecticut hospitals will lose 1% of their Medicare payments in 2016 as a result of comparatively high rates of avoidable infections and other complications, according to new federal data.

Twelve of the eighteen Connecticut Hospitals are being penalized for the second year in a row.

The Connect Hospitals penalized for a second year are: Bridgeport, Danbury, John Dempsey, Hartford, Manchester Memorial, Hospital of Central Connecticut, Yale-New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Waterbury, Windham and Connecticut Hospice. The six Connecticut Hospitals penalized for the first are time: Greenwich, St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center, Middlesex, Lawrence + Memorial, Charlotte Hungerford and Saint Mary’s.

18 Connecticut Hospitals penalized for avoidable infections and readmissions.
18 Connecticut Hospitals penalized for
avoidable infections and readmissions.

Medicare expects the penalties to cost the Connecticut Hospitals $364 million in the 2016 fiscal year.

The patient safety sanctions are among several programs that Medicare uses to penalize underperforming hospitals. Hospitals are penalized for high rates of readmission of discharged patients, and for poor performance on clinical and morality-rate measures.

28 Connecticut Hospitals will lose Medicare reimbursement in 2016 for high 30-day readmissions of patients with conditions such as heart failure.

Director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, Lisa Freeman, said that while the state’s hospitals have made progress through a statewide initiative to eliminate preventable harm, they “need to be doing much better in terms of advancing their cultures of patient safety”…

“Each avoidable complication leading to patient harm is happening to a person – a mother or a father, sister, brother or a child,” she added. “It is not only a statistic.”

Vice President and Chief Quality Office of the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), Dr. Mary Cooper, noted the data for the 2016 penalties go back to 2013 and 2014. She said hospitals have made progress in the last several years in reducing blood stream and catheter-related infections.

Some hospital officials have criticized the penalty program as misguided, claiming Medicare is required to punish a quarter of the hospitals nationwide every year, regardless of individual hospitals improvements over time.

Connecticut Hospital leaders are committed to moving forward to provide “zero harm” to patients that are admitted in their facilities. Connecticut hospitals have been recognized nationally for 100% participation in the statewide initiative to become “highly reliable organization” a program focused solely on patient safety that has trained more than 10,000 employees.

For more information, contact Medicare Pathways and learn about the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program.