Armed With Bigger Fines, Medicare To Punish 2,225 Hospitals For Excess Readmissions

Kaiser: AUG 02, 2013

 

Medicare will levy $227 million in fines against hospitals in every state but one for the second round of the government’s campaign to reduce the number of patients readmitted within a month, according to federal records released Friday.

Medicare identified 2,225 hospitals that will have payments reduced for a year starting on Oct. 1. Eighteen hospitals will lose 2 percent, the maximum possible and double the current top penalty. Another 154 will lose 1 percent or more of every payment for a patient stay, therecords show. Hospitals that treated large number of low income patients were more likely to be penalized than those treating the fewest impoverished people.

The penalty program, which began in October 2012, is among the toughest of Medicare’s efforts to pay hospitals for the quality of their performances rather than merely the number of patients they treat. Unlike other new programs created by the federal health law, the readmissions program offers hospitals no rewards for improvements or the opportunity to opt out. Read more