- The spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens was taken into account for the first time in CMS' assessment of payment penalties to U.S. hospitals under the agency's hospital-acquired condition reduction program, Kaiser Health News reported.
- The federal government examined 3,203 hospitals during the program's third year and the ones in the bottom 25% for patient safety will be penalized, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.
- A total of 769 hospitals will face a financial penalty of a 1% reduction in their Medicare payments for one year.
The federal government has made some progress in preventing hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) since 2010. Earlier this month, HHS reported the successful prevention of 3 million HACs resulted in $28 billion in savings in healthcare costs from 2010 to 2015. Yet with antibiotic-resistance becoming more of an urgent threat, there is still a lot of room for improvement as many hospitals are still unable to control these pathogens from spreading.
The two bacteria federal officials measured for the financial penalties this year were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. In a Consumer Reports review released in September, around one-third of 3,100 hospitals scored poorly for their inability to control C. difficile infection rates.
According to Kaiser Health News' analysis of the data released on the penalties, 306 more hospitals will be financially punished this year that did not receive a penalty during 2014 or 2015 and 241 hospitals have been penalized each year of the program's lifetime.