Local hospitals penalized for infection rates

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Hundreds of hospitals, including some in our area, are facing penalties for high rates of medical errors and infections. (WPVI)

Hundreds of hospitals, including some in our area, are facing penalties for high rates of medical errors and infections.

The list includes 721 hospitals.

There are more than a dozen in our area including some of the big names: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson Hospital, and Albert Einstein Medical Center among others.

Medicare payments to these hospitals will be lowered by 1% this year.

It's based on the rate of infections and other patient injuries.

But despite this, overall all hospitals are improving.

The number of mistakes has dropped 17% in the past three years.

Some say the penalties send a mixed message because some hospitals are better at detecting infections.

Here's a list of local hospitals affected:

-Hospital of University of Pennsylvania (Phila.)
-Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Phila.)
-Albert Einstein Medical Center (Phila.)
-Aria Health (Phila.)
-Barix Clinics of Pennsylvania (Phila.)
-Brandywine Hospital (coatesville, Pa)
-Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr, Pa)
-Eastern Regional Medical center (Phila.)
-Grand View Hospital (Sellersville, Pa)
-Lower Bucks hospital (Bristol, Pa)
-Paoli Hospital (Paoli, Pa)
-Pennsylvania Hospital (Phila.)
-Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (Pottstown, Pa)
-St. Joseph's Medical Center (Reading, Pa)
-St Joseph's Hospital (Phila.)
-St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital. (Quakertown, Pa)
-Surgical Specialty Center at Coordinated health (Allentown, Pa)
-Robert Wood Johnson Hospital (Hamilton, N.J.)
-Bayhealth, Kent General Hospital (Dover, Delaware)
-Inspira Medical Center (Vineland, N.J.)
-Capital Health Medical Center (Hopewell, N.J.)
-Shore Medical Center (Somers Point, N.J)

Statement from Penn Medicine:

"We are proud of Penn Medicine's position as a national leader in the development of innovations to improve safety for all our patients. The new Medicare data for hospital-acquired conditions represents only one snapshot of patient outcomes, and each survey utilizes different information and methodology to generate their conclusions." Susan Phillips, senior vice president of Public Relations for Penn Medicine

Statement from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital:

"Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) continues to support efforts, like the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which encourage transparency and give individuals access to information that can help them better evaluate the quality of care provided by our nation's hospitals."
We have already taken steps to address the areas for improvement identified in the CMS report. For example, at RWJ New Brunswick we have been able to reduce the number of central line-associated blood stream infections by 41 percent from last year. At RWJ Somerset, we have purchased new protective caps for our IV and catheters to reduce the risk of infections.
We will use the data in this report to benchmark our performance and develop quality improvement initiatives to address any areas of need.
The one percent reduction in payments will not cause RWJ to reduce services in any way. Healthcare funding sources are always changing. As a result, our hospital has always pursued an aggressive growth strategy in our specialty and ambulatory service areas."

See the full list of hospitals surveyed and ones penalized: http://cdn.kaiserhealthnews.org/attachments/HACPenaltyChart.pdf
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