Some Arkansas Hospitals Face Patient Safety Penalties

February 12, 2020

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Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst

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Last fall, we wrote about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) penalizing 41 hospitals in Arkansas for having high 30-day readmission rates for their Medicare patients. On Feb. 5, CMS identified 786 hospitals nationwide, including 10 in Arkansas, that will receive lower payments for fiscal year 2020 under a separate penalty-based patient safety program, the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program.

2020 marks the sixth year of the HAC penalties, which are intended to promote better care and improved safety for Medicare patients. Medicare is required to penalize the quarter of general care hospitals with the highest rates of patient safety issues such as infections, sepsis cases, and hip fractures. Hospitals subject to the HAC penalties have their Medicare payments reduced by 1% over the federal fiscal year, which runs from October through September.

Ten Arkansas hospitals face HAC penalties in 2020:

  • Washington Region Medical Center (Fayetteville)
  • CHI-St. Vincent Infirmary (Little Rock)
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center (Little Rock)
  • Conway Regional Health System
  • Five Rivers Medical Center (Pocahontas)
  • Baptist Health ― Fort Smith (formerly Sparks Regional Medical Center)
  • Jefferson Region Medical Center (Pine Bluff)
  • National Park Medical Center (Hot Springs)
  • Medical Center of South Arkansas (El Dorado)
  • St. Vincent Medical Center ― North (Sherwood)

Six hospitals penalized in 2020 were also penalized in the previous year:

  • Washington Regional Medical Center
  • CHI-St. Vincent Infirmary
  • Five Rivers Medical Center
  • Jefferson Regional Medical Center
  • National Park Medical Center
  • Medical Center of South Arkansas

Four hospitals penalized in 2019 face no penalties in 2020:

  • Siloam Springs Regional Hospital
  • Baptist Health ― North Little Rock
  • North Metro Medical Center (Jacksonville)
  • Baptist Health ― Little Rock

Two hospitals have experienced four or five years of HAC penalties since the program’s launch in 2015:

  • National Park Medical Center
  • North Metro Medical Center (now a psychiatric inpatient facility)

Additional Arkansas-specific data can be found via the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Look Up Hospital Penalties tool.

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