Multiple hospitals have received Medicare sanctions from the federal government, related to repeated patient safety incidents. In 2015, and in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, Medicare fined 758 hospitals for having an unacceptable number of reports concerning safety incidents compared to other hospitals.
Here is a brief overview and analysis of the sanctions.
Hospitals Fined by Medicare
Over half (407) of the 758 fined hospitals were also fined in 2014 for higher-than-average safety incident reports. Among the hospitals fined for the first time in 2015 are some that are well-known and respected in the medical field and by the general public.
Results of Sanctions
These Medicare fines were levied due to the frequency of events that point to inconsistent standards of patient safety. Indicators of poor performance were measured using data related to hospital acquired infections (HAI), joint fractures and other surgical complications such as open wounds, tears, and collapsed lungs.
In response to these violations, Medicare reduced funding to the sanctioned hospitals by one percent across the board. The summation of these fines resulted in a reduction of Medicare funding to the affected hospitals by $364 million for the 2016 fiscal year.
Two Views on Sanctions
These Medicare sanctions are among some of the most severe penalties ever levied by the federal government. Put into law in 2010, they are designed to penalize hospitals for preventable negative patient outcomes and to promote higher standards of quality and patient safety practices.
However some healthcare workers feel that the fines undermine the goal of increased safety. Many hospitals are working diligently toward meeting the newer, tougher federal standards, but – for various reasons – are not there yet. Many see the penalties as counter-productive since they make less money available for new programs that promote better patient outcomes..
Naturally, no hospital sets out to have low safety standards. Some critics note that the metrics used to assess penalties don’t take hospital size and root cause into account. Others contend that hospitals remain vigilant in improving safety standards, but have been given insufficient time to fully engage in the process.
To avoid penalties, hospitals must be certain they are keeping surgical equipment in top-notch condition. The improper care and maintenance of surgical instrumentation can contribute to adverse surgical events. PREZIO Health helps hospitals by assuring their surgical equipment performs optimally every step of the way. One way we do this is by implementing preventative maintenance schedules and supporting CSDP staff through education on proper care and handling of surgical instruments. When a hospital seeks to improve efficiency through proper surgical instrument maintenance, PREZIO Health is ready to respond. Please contact us today.