OHSU Responds to Penalties from CMS

Statewide, six hospitals were penalized for high rates of patient injuries.

Recently the federal government announced that Medicare payments are being cut to hospitals this year that have a high rate of patient injuries. Oregon Health & Science University was among them.

When The Lund Report published this story on Dec. 28, we had not yet received a response from OHSU.

Now Dr. Charles Kilo, chief medical officer of OHSU Healthcare, has responded, saying that its hospital treats highly complex, critical ill patients who are more susceptible to hospital-acquired conditions, including infection, that typical hospital patients.

“While OHSU has a vigorous and effective infection prevention and control program in place, we, along with community hospitals and other academic medical centers nationwide, are continuously working to improve our approaches,” he told The Lund Report in a written statement. “For example, OHSU employs a number of performance improvement methods like LEAN, and using these methods, has made preventing hospital-acquired infections our highest priority.”

As a teaching hospital, OHSU could also be impacted because of this penalty and receive a reduced amount of money to teach medical residents and care for low-income people.

When asked for details about these reductions, Tamara Hargens-Bradley, associate director of OHSU media relations, said that was unknown and “OHSU is still in the process of assessing the report.”

Six Oregon hospitals will have their Medicare payments cut in 2017 after federal officials found high rates of patient injuries stemming from infections, blood clots, bed sores and falls and the presence of bacteria resistant to drugs.

Besides OHSU, the list includes Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center, Portland Newberg Medical Center, Samaritan Albany General Hospital, Santiam Hospital and Asante Ashland Community Hospital. Nationwide, officials penalized 769 hospitals, which are expected to lose 1 percent of their Medicare fee-for-service payments, roughly $430 million. Teaching hospitals such as OHSU could face further cuts. .

According to Kaiser Health News, “The penalties come as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also 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. Hospitals will have to establish these antibiotic stewardship programs as a condition of receiving Medicare funding under a regulation the government drafted last summer”

Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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