- Associated Press - Sunday, December 21, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Nearly a dozen New Mexico hospitals will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicare payments because of hospital-acquired infections.

Medicare is hitting more than 700 hospitals nationwide, including 11 in New Mexico, for high rates of certain conditions brought on during hospitalization. The hospitals will see a 1 percent loss in reimbursements for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 3, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said.

The penalized hospitals include Presbyterian and University of New Mexico hospitals in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1sX02dW) Saturday. Kathleen Davis, Presbyterian Healthcare Services senior vice president, said their facility expects a payment loss of $900,000. Davis said the hospital is a safe place to get care overall.

“We are very committed to patient safety, and we have many plans and programs in place to improve patient safety,” Davis said.

Davis said the Medicare assessment looked at 40,000 patients who went to Presbyterian, Kaseman hospitals in Albuquerque and a hospital in Rio Rancho. The number of people with infections was fewer than 20.

“They’re extremely small numbers. You’re not talking about widespread unfettered harm,” Davis said.

UNM Hospital spokesman John Arnold said the hospital deals with many ill patients.

“Other hospitals from across the state, which may lack the facilities or expertise to care for these very sick patients, regularly transfer them to UNMH,” Arnold said in a statement.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare can cut payments based on issues such as frequency of infections caused by hospital equipment. Medicare looks at infections caused by tubes used to pump medicine or fluid into large veins; urinary tract infections brought on by catheters; and complications based on blood clots, bed sores or falls. The hospital is then scored based on a formula. A score above seven rates a penalty.

Other penalized New Mexico hospitals include Eastern New Mexico Medical Center in Roswell and San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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