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Most Connecticut hospitals will see financial penalties due to readmissions

No hospital in the state will be penalized the maximum allowable 3 percent, but nine will be hit with 1 percent or more.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

First California, now Connecticut: The vast majority of hospitals in the latter state -- 93 percent -- will lose reimbursement dollars due to higher-than-average 30-day readmission rates. Of 29 hospitals, 27 will see cuts.

IMPACT

As reported by CT Post based on a Kaiser Health News analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the penalties began October 1, the start of the 2019 fiscal year.

The maximum a hospital can be penalized for 30-day readmissions is 3 percent, and no Connecticut hospital will be hit that hard. But two hospitals, Waterbury Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital, will be penalized more than 2 percent -- 2.19 and 2.01, respectively.

Seven more were hit with penalties of more than 1 percent: Bristol Hospital (1.91); Manchester Memorial Hospital (1.74); Johnson Memorial Hospital (1.71), Midstate Medical Center (1.37); St. Vincent's Medical Center (1.21), Griffin Hospital (1.17); and Yale New Haven Hospital (1.03).

Only Hebrew Home and Hospital and Stamford Hospital received no penalty. It's the second year with no penalty for Hebrew Home and Hospital.

Just seven states saw 93 percent or more of their hospitals penalized, CT Post reported.

THE TREND

Earlier this month it was revealed that California hospitals were having similar woes -- of 292 hospitals evaluated throughout the state, 215 will be hit by penalties.

A small reimbursement hit can translate to significant financial losses. A 0.2 percent penalty, such as the one incurred by Ventura County Medical Center and the affiliated Santa Paula Hospital, can translate into tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

This challenging reimbursement picture has emerged despite changes in the way the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determines penalties. Rather than all U.S. hospitals being placed in the same pool -- with hospital-to-hospital comparisons forming the basis of the reimbursement scenario -- hospitals are now placed in peer groups based on their percentages of low-income patients.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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