Medicare has cut payments to 62 Missouri hospitals for having high rates of readmissions, patient infections and injuries. According to Kaiser Health News, the penalties are as much as 3% per patient, but the average is usually much lower. Patient safety cuts cost Missouri hospitals 1% of Medicare payments through next September.

Photo courtesy of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The penalties are based on Medicare patients who had originally been treated for heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, hip and knee replacement or coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Readmissions that were scheduled to occur are not counted.

Medicare began the hospital readmission penalties in 2012 and opinions differ on whether the pressure is working.

“A lot of hard work has gone into trying to reduce readmissions, and the needle has not moved very far,” Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox, co-director of the Center for Health Economics and Policy at Washington University in St. Louis told Kaiser Health News. “It’s been a huge investment by hospitals but not very much in outcomes, but some good things have come out of it.”

Medicare includes patients readmitted within 30 days, even if that hospital is not the one that originally treated them. However, the first hospital is the one that ends up getting penalized.

To see the list of Missouri hospitals penalized, click here.

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