The federal government is penalizing more than 700 hospitals across the country for having high rates of hospital acquired infections. In Connecticut, 14 hospitals are facing the penalty and consequently losing millions of dollars. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions intended not only to improve access to healthcare but also to improve healthcare itself. According to the law, hospitals that do the worst get penalized and lose one percent of their Medicare payments over the course of the year.
In Connecticut, 45 percent of hospitals in the program were penalized – among the highest rates in the nation. However, some hospitals that were penalized, including Yale-New Haven Hospital, argue that the federal government’s specific data set has problems. Yale’s leaders believe that hospitals like theirs have improved and that the data does not take important factors, such as hospitals with higher rates of less healthy patients, into account. However, unless lawmakers decide to strip the provision in the health law, the penalty will remain and come back again next year.
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