Barton will not see Medicare cuts under performance programs |

Barton will not see Medicare cuts under performance programs

Tom Lotshaw

Barton Memorial Hospital will not face cuts to its Medicare reimbursements this year under new federal programs that aim to penalize hospitals with higher rates of preventable patient injuries, hospital officials announced Monday.

South Lake Tahoe’s community hospital instead will get slightly higher Medicare reimbursements this year because of its work meeting targets of the performance programs for hospitals.

In June, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services listed Barton Memorial Hospital and 760 other hospitals as potentially facing a 1 percent cut in their Medicare reimbursements under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program.

The program penalizes hospitals that fall within the bottom 25 percent for preventable patient injuries. That includes things such as patient falls, adverse drug events, pressure ulcers, surgical site infections, catheter infections, accidental punctures or lacerations and blood clots.

“This is great news,” Barton Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Monica Sciuto said about the hospital exceeding that 25 percent threshold. The 1 percent cut would have cost the hospital about $120,000 per year in Medicare reimbursements.

Officials at Barton Memorial Hospital said they were surprised to appear on the preliminary list because the hospital was recently recognized by the federal government for its efforts to reduce preventable injuries and infections.

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asked hospitals to reduce their rates of adverse patient events by 40 percent from 2010 to 2013, Barton Memorial Hospital responded with a nearly 75 percent reduction.

“We are pleased but not surprised that Barton is a high-performer,” Dr. Clint Purvance, chief medical officer at Barton Memorial Hospital, said in a formal press statement.

“Our hospital’s staff and physicians consider patient safety, quality and patient satisfaction their highest priorities. The time and energy they have invested has greatly improved the outcomes on these measures for the past several years and continues to do so.”

Barton Memorial Hospital also was told last week that it will get an additional 0.5 percent Medicare reimbursement because of its performance in the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program. Mandated by the Patient Protection and Afford Care Act, the federal program scores hospitals and bases their reimbursements on clinical processes, patient experience, quality outcomes and efficiencies.

Barton Memorial Hospital will get its full 1 percent Medicare reimbursement as well as the additional 0.5 percent payment for its performance in the program, according to hospital officials.

“This additional reimbursement directly benefits all of our patients,” Dr. Clint Purvance said. “We are excited to have this momentum and look forward to the ongoing process of improving our patients’ overall experience.”

The reimbursement rates take effect October 1.

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