Medicare penalizes 23 New Jersey hospitals over errors, infections
DECEMBER 18, 2014, 11:44 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014, 11:48 PM
BY LINDY WASHBURN
STAFF WRITER |
The federal government will reduce its Medicare payments to 23 hospitals in the state — including six in North Jersey — in a crackdown on hospital errors and infections.
The list of hospitals, released Thursday, includes Hackensack University Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic and Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus. In all, 721 hospitals nationwide will see their Medicare payments cut by 1 percent for the year that began Oct. 1.
New Jersey was one of 10 states where a third or more of the hospitals were penalized.
The financial incentives and public reporting are a two-pronged strategy under the health care reform law known as Obamacare aimed at reducing harm to patients from hospital stays. Hospital errors are estimated to cost Americans more than $17 billion a year and contribute to the deaths of 180,000 Medicare patients alone.
And because Medicare, the federal insurance program for those over 65, is one of the largest sources of hospital revenue, even a 1 percent reduction can have a sizable impact on health care facilities.
For example, Hackensack University Medical Center, with $1.2 billion in revenue in 2012, had more than $263 million in Medicare payments that year. So a reduction of 1 percent would cost it nearly $3 million.