MidState Medical Center and Masonicare Health Center are two of 15 hospitals and health care centers statewide that will lose 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements this year because of relatively high rates of hospital-acquired conditions, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
MidState, located in Meriden and part of the Hartford HealthCare Network, was also penalized for hospital-acquired conditions in 2018, according to the data. Masonicare, in Wallingford, has been penalized for the past three years. HHC is also the parent of Hartford Hospital.
“Hartford HealthCare is committed to ensuring everyone receives high quality, excellent care. Safety is one of our core values and a top priority for all of our hospitals every day,” said Hartford Healthcare Network spokesman Shawn Mawhiney. “Examining trends and learning from hospital-acquired conditions is an important part of our ongoing assessment and review of the care provided to patients. We share this learning across our system of care.”
MidState and other hospitals, in partnership with the Connecticut Hospital Association, are working to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions in the Medicare program, Mawhiney said.
Nursing homes with smaller populations and older patients often face different challenges.
“Patient welfare is our first concern,” said Masonicare spokeswoman Margaret Steeves. “That said, our situation is unique. We have a small, boutique 30-bed hospital with a population that is older and frailer than other hospitals cited.”
In October 2014, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began reducing Medicare payments for hospitals due to hospital-acquired conditions.
Other Connecticut hospitals losing 1 percent of their reimbursements are: Bridgeport Hospital, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, The Connecticut Hospice Inc., Greenwich Hospital, Griffin Hospital in Derby, Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital In Farmington, Rockville General Hospital, St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Stamford Hospital, Waterbury Hospital and Windham Community Memorial Hospital & Hatch Hospital in Willimantic.
The hospitals are among 800 nationwide being penalized, the highest number since the Hospital Acquired Conditions Reduction Program started five years ago.
According to the CT Health I-Team, which first reported the information, the program was created by the Affordable Care Act. The federal government levies penalties based on the hospitals’ rates of infection related to colon surgeries, hysterectomies, urinary tract catheters and central lines inserted into veins.
Officials also review infection rates for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus, or MRSA, and Clostridium difficile, known as C. diff., as well as rates of blood clots, sepsis, post-surgery wounds, bedsores, and hip fractures, among other injuries.
Many state hospitals are making improvements to reduce preventable infections, said Mary Cooper, chief quality officer and senior vice president for clinical affairs at the Connecticut Hospital Association. A new high reliability initiative is intended to improve patient outcomes.
“Everybody is working on this,” Cooper said. “Nobody wants complications. The work is paying off in many of our hospitals.”
In addition to the rates of hospital-acquired conditions, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in October that 27 of Connecticut’s 29 hospitals are being penalized this fiscal year with Medicare reimbursement reductions – of varying amounts – for having high rates of patients who were readmitted within a month of being discharged.