Hospitals Brace for Next HAC Penalty

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 8, 2014

The report says the incidence of a select group of hospital-acquired conditions per 1,000 patient discharges in 2010 was 145. By 2012, it was down to 132, a drop of 9%.

HHS seized an opportunity to translate this to actual humans, saying some 560,000 patients, the number who endured a hospital-acquired condition in 2010, didn't suffer one in 2012. What's more, these efforts saved lives; an estimated 15,000 people who would have died from these errors or lapses in care in 2012 got out of their hospitals alive.

The HAC penalty isn't popular among some hospital officials, however.

Alven Weil, spokesman for the group purchasing and quality improvement collaborative Premier, Inc. which represents some 2,600 hospitals and health systems, says the HAC penalty is in effect a triple jeopardy, "penalizing hospitals three times" for the same types of harm.

Premier, he said in an e-mail, is "disappointed that CMS continues to include central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality patient safety indicators in both the Value-Based Purchasing and the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) reduction programs."

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