Health

Medicare cuts payment to hospitals with high infection and injury rates

Loma Linda University Medical Center is one of 721 hospitals, 79 in California, that are being penalized by Medicare for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections and complications.
Loma Linda University Medical Center is one of 721 hospitals, 79 in California, that are being penalized by Medicare for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections and complications.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

Listen to story

01:01
Download this story 0MB

For the first time the federal government is punishing hospitals with high rates of infections and complications by reducing payments, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Under a process mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is cutting payments to 721 hospitals nationwide for not doing enough to reduce avoidable infections and injuries, called "hospital-acquired conditions."

California is home to 79 of the penalized hospitals, including Loma Linda University, L.A. County-USC and Long Beach Memorial Medical Centers.

Medicare will reduce its payments to the hospitals by 1 percent in the current fiscal year, which started in October. Medicare ranked hospitals based on three conditions: Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections, Central-line associated bloodstream infections and serious complications. Medicare assesses eight types of complications that range from falls to blood clots.

Next year’s review will include even more types of injuries and infections.

Kaiser Health News charted the entire list here.

The hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange Counties that will be penalized: