Conway Medical Center among sixteen hospitals punished by Medicare

Conway Medical Center among sixteen hospitals punished by Medicare

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Conway Medical Center is one of 16 South Carolina Hospitals set to be punished by Medicare because of safety scores related to preventable conditions.

Infections from a catheter or central line, post operation hip fractures, or even pressure ulcers are all conditions no hospital patient wants. They're also all are things the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says are avoidable.

The federal program calls these Hospital-Acquired Conditions, and wants hospitals to reduce them by more than 40 percent.

"We're paying a ton of money in care based on this harm that is occurring in the hospitals, so CMS says we're not going to pay for them anymore," said Lorri Gibbons with the South Carolina Hospital Association.

The South Carolina Hospital Association says 56 area hospitals are part of what's called the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program.

The goal is to monitor data and use it to improve patient care. If a hospital is not performing well, it will face a penalty.

This year, Conway Medical Center will lose one percent of Medicare payments.

"Medicare is the biggest third-party payer for our hospitals, so that can be a significant amount of money that could be taken from the hospital," said Gibbons.

Conway Medical Center's released this statement regarding the punishment:

"CMS's threshold for penalty for FY16 is 6.75.  CMC was just over the threshold with a score of 7.  The data set included in this penalty period covers January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014.  Since 2013, CMC's leadership has devoted significant resources to performance improvement projects related to healthcare acquired infections.  The penalty is based on catheter associated urinary tract infections and central line associated blood stream infections, the majority of which occurred in 2013.  Although our data is still not perfect, CMC has seen steady improvement in each of the HAC categories from 2013 to 2014, and again from 2014 to 2015.  (Surgical site infections did not factor into our FY16 penalty.)  CMC is committed to minimizing, and hopefully eliminating, these infections in the future, through the dedicated attention of our clinical staff and leadership."

The South Carolina Hospital Association says, the 16 hospitals being punished only represent about 28 percent of the state's facilities.

The organization says South Carolina ranks about in the middle of the country.

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