The federal government is fining 64 percent of California hospitals for having too many Medicare patients return to the hospital within a month of being discharged, according to an analysis of Medicare data by Kaiser Health News.
Sutter Surgical Hospital North Valley in Yuba City was the only facility in the state that received the maximum 3 percent fine. Chinese Hospital in San Francisco received the second highest fine: 2.16 percent of all Medicare billings in the coming year.
“Any little bit hurts. We will definitely feel it,” says Peggy Cmiel, chief nursing officer at Chinese Hospital.
The fines are meant to encourage hospitals to do a better job of caring for patients after they’re released. In the past, many hospitals benefited if a patient returned after surgery – more treatment meant more money. Now, the Medicare program that pays for those treatments wants to reverse the trend by fining hospitals that don’t do a good enough job transitioning patients out of the hospital. Continue reading