by Elizabeth Wehman, editor
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
President and CEO of Memorial Healthcare Brian Long has responded to the recent announcement from Kaiser Health News and responds to the allegations, “Memorial Healthcare has been working diligently in addressing the unique factors that contribute to hospital readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, patient safety indicators, and hospital-acquired infections.”
According to an announcement from Kaiser Health News, Memorial Healthcare as well as Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, and 25 other Michigan facilities have high rates of patient injuries including various types of infections, blood clots, bedsores, and falls. Due to these allegations, each of the 27 Michigan hospitals will lose one percent of all Medicare payments for a year.
Long adds about the report, “While many of the processes reflected in this report have already improved, we welcome these comparisons and use them to help guide us in our ongoing efforts to eliminate harm to any of our patients.” Based on a press release given to the Independent by Memorial Healthcare, ‘national, hospital-acquired conditions declined by 21 percent between 2010 and 2015.’
“Our concern is the way the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is measuring these improvements. The data is being presented as historical data – it is not an accurate snapshot of what is really happening at Memorial Healthcare. Additionally CMS, as reflected in the Kaiser Health News reports, seems to be more focused on whether the patient had the condition prior to arriving at the hospital, rather than the actual treatment of the patient in the healthcare facility,” says Long.
The hospital also claims that the information brought forward by CMS in 2014, regarding the current reimbursement changes, has caused Memorial Healthcare to renew its efforts on improving metrics to benefit the health of its patients including, but not limited to, increased hand hygiene compliance, updating cleaning and disinfecting procedures, introducing UV light technology, antibiotic stewardship, and early detection of community-acquired infections like C-diff.
Regarding the loss of the one percent of Medicare payments, Long says, “The economic impact of the cut in Medicare reimbursement is not insignificant; however, we remain dedicated to implementing new strategies to directly address patient safety and patient satisfaction.”
According to Kaiser News, these allegations not only apply to patient stays but will also reduce the amount of money hospitals get to teach medical residents and for the care of low-income people.
The penalties come as the CMS launches new requirements for hospitals to ensure that the use of antibiotics is limited to cases where they are necessary and be circumspect in determining which of the drugs are most likely to work for a given infection. This forces hospitals to establish antibiotic stewardship programs as a condition of receiving Medicare funding. A recent CMS report showed Memorial Healthcare outperformed most of the hospitals in the region for infection prevention. Furthermore, in the most recent CMS Hospital Compare Report, Memorial Healthcare shows no difference in hospital acquired infections from the national average.