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U.Va. among hospitals penalized by Medicare

Martinsville Bulletin - 1/1/2018

[CHARLOTTESVILLE] The University of Virginia Health System will see another loss in federal funding after being penalized by Medicare for its rate of patient injuries.

According to a report from Kaiser Health News, the university is among 751 hospitals - 115 of which are academic medical centers - that will lose a portion of its Medicare funding per an Affordable Care Act penalty that was designed to decrease the number of health care-related injuries and infections.

The Health System is reportedly poised to lose about $5 million in funding.

U.Va. Health System spokesman Eric Swensen said Thursday that the methodology "unfairly penalizes referral and safety-net hospitals" that see a disproportionate number of vulnerable and at-risk patients who are more susceptible to complications and infections.

"A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that hospitals penalized more frequently through this methodology had more quality accreditations, offered advanced services, were major teaching institutions and had better performance on other outcomes measures," Swensen said.

He said the Health System's Be Safe initiative has focused on enhancing safety and quality processes to improve outcomes for patients. He said the initiative has helped decrease catheter-associated urinary tract infections by more than 70 percent in the past five years.

"Through Be Safe, U.Va. Health System is committed every day to improving the care our patients receive," Swensen said.

Fifteen Virginia hospitals are being penalized this year, including the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, Inova Alexandria Hospital, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and Danville Regional Medical Center. Eight of the 15 hospitals, including the U.Va. Medical Center, were penalized last year.


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