CMS to Penalize 2,545 Hospitals — 40 in Arkansas — for High Readmission Rates

November 5, 2020

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Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will penalize 2,545 hospitals, including 40 in Arkansas, in fiscal year 2021 for having high 30-day readmission rates.

One Arkansas hospital, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro, will be subject to the maximum penalty, a 3% per-patient reduction in Medicare payments, for a second consecutive year. Several hospitals face reduced penalties compared to the previous year, among them Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock, Chambers Memorial Hospital in Danville, and North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville.

Some Arkansas hospitals will face increased penalties in 2021 compared to 2020, including Johnson Regional Medical Center in Clarksville, National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs, and St. Vincent Medical Center in Sherwood. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital and White River Medical Center in Batesville were penalized in 2020 but will not be penalized in 2021. White County Medical Center in Searcy will be newly subject to a penalty in 2021.

Now in its ninth year, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program seeks to improve health care by linking hospital payments to quality of care. The program uses patient data from July 2016 through June 2019 to determine hospitals’ rates of unplanned readmissions of patients within 30 days of discharge.

Some facilities are exempt, including veterans’ hospitals, children’s hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, critical access hospitals, and hospitals with too few cases to assess.

CMS also announced in September that the penalty program may be suspended in future years, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential difficulties in assessing hospital performance.

The following is a list of all Arkansas hospitals subject to readmission penalties in 2021:

  • Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock (2.43%)
  • Arkansas Methodist Medical Center in Paragould (1.64%)
  • Baptist Health-Fort Smith (0.86%)
  • Baptist Health-Van Buren (0.25%)
  • Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock (0.73%)
  • Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway (0.15%)
  • Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Springs County (0.68%)
  • Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock (0.92%)
  • Baptist Health Medical Center-Stuttgart (0.42%)
  • Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home (1.21%)
  • Chambers Memorial Hospital in Danville (1.24%)
  • CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock (0.73%)
  • Conway Regional Health System (1.26%)
  • Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello (0.43%)
  • Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas (1.23%)
  • Forrest City Medical Center (0.22%)
  • Great River Medical Center in Blytheville (0.71%)
  • Helena Regional Medical Center (0.45%)
  • Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff (1.43%)
  • Johnson Regional Medical Center in Clarksville (1.41%)
  • Magnolia Hospital (0.03%)
  • Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado (0.02%)
  • Mena Regional Health System (0.30%)
  • Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith (0.76%)
  • Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers (0.64%)
  • National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs (1.77%)
  • NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro (3%)
  • North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison (0.5%)
  • North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville (0.57%)
  • Northwest Medical Center-Springdale (0.96%)
  • Ouachita County Medical Center in Camden (0.14%)
  • Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton (0.73%)
  • Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro (1.57%)
  • St Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Russellville (0.65%)
  • St Vincent-Hot Springs (0.72%)
  • St Vincent Medical Center North in Sherwood (0.42%)
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock (0.45%)
  • Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope (0.91%)
  • Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville (0.05%)
  • White County Medical Center in Searcy (0.07%)
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