Three Western Mass. Hospitals Penalized By Medicare

Dec 27, 2017

Nearly three-dozen New England hospitals will see a reduction in federal funding over the the current fiscal year, as a penalty for patient injuries.

The federal government will reduce Medicare payments by 1 percent to 35 hospitals in New England until at least October. That's because patients suffer injury or infection at these facilities at higher rates than 75 percent of hospitals in the country, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Since October of 2014, Medicare has imposed the small penalty on hospitals in this 75th percentile, as part of the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. The program was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Nine of the penalized hospitals are in Massachusetts, including Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield and Mercy Medical Center in Springfield.

In a statement, a Mercy spokeswoman said the hospital has made improvements since its last Medicare assessment.

"While we recognize that a single patient injury is one too many, Mercy Medical Center remains dedicated to providing our patients with high quality care that is safe and effective," Mercy spokeswoman Amy Ashford said in a statement.

A Baystate spokeswoman said because some of its smaller hospitals have fewer patients, a small number of incidents can affect the numbers at these facilities.

"(We) recognize that the impact of a few conditions at smaller and rural community hospitals like Baystate Franklin Medical Center and Baystate Noble Hospital may impact these ratings and reimbursements," Baystate spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett said in a statement.