New year, more penalties for South Georgia hospitals

New year, more penalties for South Georgia hospitals

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and several other South Georgia hospitals face new penalties for 2016 after more high rates of patient safety incidents.

Medicare said it's lowering payments for 2016 by 1 percent for hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable infections and complications like blood clots, bed sores, and falls.

In Georgia, 30 hospitals face fines, including these:

  • Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany
  • Grady General Hospital, Cairo
  • Crisp Regional Hospital, Cordele
  • Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon
  • Tift Regional Medical Center, Tifton

This is the second year of the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, which was mandated by the federal health law to reduce patient injuries.

Medicare said 758 hospitals would be penalized for patient safety in 2016, and more than half of them were also fined last year, which was the first year of the program.

The fines are based on the government's assessment of the frequency of several kinds of infections, sepsis, hip fractures and other complications, Kaiser Health News reported.

In all, Medicare estimated the penalties would cost hospitals $364 million.

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