Out of 3,398 eligible hospitals, 724 (or 21%) will face a 1% penalty for having the highest rates of preventable complications, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on Thursday. The penalties will be effective October 1.
CMS also updated its Hospital Compare website yesterday. A few take-aways here:
- Hospitals are having a tough time getting staff vaccinated. At about a third of the hospitals that are required to report this data, at least 25% of workers are unvaccinated.
- New quality measures include survey responses from patients evaluating the ease of their care transitions. Patients are asked if they were given information about what to do during their recovery and if they understood their care plan after leaving the hospital. These metrics are reported as percentages on the Hospital Compare site.
- Hospitals are now evaluated and ranked based on the percentage of stroke and COPD patients readmitted within 30 days and the percentage of those who died within 30 days.
Reactions, as you might expect, have been mixed. The American Hospital Association continues to oppose the penalties, claiming that the reduction program does not take into account important population demographics that have an impact on outcomes. AHA VP of quality and patient safety policy Nancy Foster called the program "a poorly designed policy that unfairly penalizes hospitals that care for the sickest patients," as well as calling for improved measures that "more accurately reflect performance."
Meanwhile, Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder expressed dismay that the updated data does not include some expected information:
"...last summer CMS announced they would update measures on hospital never events such as objects left in after surgery," Binder said. "To our great disappointment, CMS has still not updated these measures."
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