Medicare prepares to penalize local hospitals that don't meet infection standards

CINCINNATI - More than a dozen hospitals in the Tri-State face the prospect of losing one percent of every Medicare payment for a year starting in October because they ranked among care centers with the nation’s highest rates of patient infection.

But local officials say Medicare is using out-of-date information, and the government hasn’t yet taken into account the better safety performance that hospitals already are achieving.

“We are working really, really hard on this, and we’ve seen some nice progress,” says Dr. Robert Wones, chief quality and medical infomatics officer at UC Health. “Patient safety is a huge priority for us.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the federal Health and Human Services Department, issued a list last month with the names of 761 hospitals across the country that are facing the reduction in payments. The government, using data from 2011 and 2012, found that the hospitals were not hitting goals for cracking down on infections that patients get while in a care facility.

Become a WCPO Insider to find out which area hospitals are on the list and what they are doing about it.

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