Teaching hospitals take brunt of medical error penalties

Half of U.S. teaching hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for high rates of infection and medical errors.

Medicare will withhold $373 million in penalties from 721 hospitals nationwide, inlcuding some of the most highly recognized institutions such as Cleveland Clinic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.

One out of every seven hospitals in the nation will have their Medicare payments lowered by 1 percent over the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The Affordable Care Act mandates the reductions for the quarter of hospitals that Medicare assessed as having the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions. This year some hospitals may lose up to 5 percent of Medicare reimbursements.