Four Maine hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for their rates of infection and patient injury. Central Maine Medical Center, Southern Maine Health Care, York Hospital and Cary Medical Center all face a reduction in Medicare reimbursements for one year. It’s the third year in a row that Central Maine Medical Center is being docked.
The action is being taken against the lowest-performing 25% of US hospitals for their rates of hospital-acquired conditions, like bedsores, infections, and hip fractures from accidental falls. More than 700 hospitals fall into this category. And while some of them are repeat violators, Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston is the only hospital in Maine this year to have been penalized multiple years in a row. David Tuppence, who took the post of president of CMMC about three months ago, says changes are underway. The hospital is hiring a director of infection prevention and a physician will fill the role of chief quality officer.
“We’ve been working to make it much more clinically driven than it has been in the past,” says Tuppence.
Medicare will reduce reimbursements to CMMC and the other three Maine hospitals by one percent for the 2018 fiscal year. The penalties fall under an Affordable Care Act program designed to encourage hospitals to reduce patient injuries and infections. Both Maine Medical Center and MaineGeneral were previously penalized three years in a row, but have since improved their performance.