Photo courtesy of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Seventeen Missouri hospitals have been penalized by the federal government for high rates of readmissions, infections and patient injuries – an increase of eight from 2018. According to the healthcare policy nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, the hospitals, which include those from virtually every region of the state, will have their Medicare payments cut by one percent between last October and this September.

Nationwide, a record 800 hospitals have been sanctioned and will receive smaller Medicaid payments through September. Kaiser Family Foundation says the number represents the highest since the federal government five years ago launched the Hospital Acquired Conditions Reduction Program created by the Affordable Care Act.

Dave Dillon with the Missouri Hospital Association says it has been a longstanding critic of the methodology used to establish benchmarks for the program.

Our research, which has been published nationally, finds that the failure of the system to account for factors outside of the control of health care providers disadvantages hospitals that care for a larger share of poor, chronically ill patients. The penalties have the effect of reducing the resources available to these hospitals to work in the hospital and throughout the community to improve care,” says Dillon.

He says hospitals should be rated on their performance, not on factors that he says are outside of their control.

“It’s not surprising then that many of the nation’s safety net hospitals — those that care for low-income patients who often don’t have access to health insurance, a regular source of care, nutritious food or transportation for follow up visits — suffer from a lower star rating,” he says. “Without addressing the social determinants of health — factors that have a defined association with health, exist before the delivery of care, are not determined by the quality of care received and are not readily modifiable by health care providers — programs like the 5-Star rating program will not only mislead consumers about the quality of hospitals, but harm those hospitals subject to poor-risk adjustment in the rating system that underpins the program.”

To view the Missouri hospitals on the list, click here.

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