According to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal records released this week, CMS levied a record number of fines against hospitals for excessive readmissions. CMS will penalize more than 2,600 hospitals over the next year; average fines will be higher than before. This year’s round of penalties will bring deeper cuts and will affect more hospitals. The analysis also shows that Medicare will penalize 433 more hospitals than last year. Earlier this year, CMS data indicated readmissions were above average in 20 percent of hospitals in six states. The increase in fines may be due to CMS adding two new categories to its readmission criteria. Medicare’s penalty system has many hospitals throughout the country rethinking their prevention strategies.
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