NYC Hospitals Hit with Medicare Fine Over Preventable Infections

Laura Woods | January 14th, 2015

hospital sign

A total of 17 New York City hospitals will be hit with Medicare fines totaling millions of dollars for failing to avert patient infections and other complications. Some of the city’s leading teaching hospitals ─ including NYU Langone, Lenox Hill and Montefiore ─ will likely lose one percent of their Medicare reimbursements during the fiscal year that started on October 1 and runs through September of this year, for not abiding by the ObamaCare-enforced regulations.

Regulators rated the hospitals on many preventable complications, such as infections in patients with catheters that have a central line tube inserted to distribute food and medicine, hip fractures and bedsores.

Medicare fines for NYC hospitals

Two Brooklyn hospitals ─ Kings County Hospital and Brookdale Hospital Center ─ received some of the city’s poorest scores by earning roughly 10 out of 10 points. Staten Island University Hospital received and overall score of 6.75 and Richmond University Medical Center scored a total of 6.07. Hospitals scoring seven points and above will be fined. In total, 700 hospitals across the country will be fined.

Betsy McCaughey, chairwoman of the New York-based Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and former New York Lieutenant Governor, referred to the fines as a “no brainer.”

Hospital infection is one of the largest killers in the United States and they’re almost all preventable through proper hygiene and rigorous adherence to procedures, so of course hospitals should be penalized when their infection rates are high,” McCaughey said.

She said large teaching hospitals frequently treat patients who are in critical condition, with a number of tubes going in and coming out of their bodies and are seen by a larger number of healthcare professionals.

“The more caregivers (who) walk in and out of your room, the higher your risk of infection,” McCaughey said.

Hospitals speak out

Brian Conway, a spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association, claims that as the hospital assessment program “is based on only three measures, it doesn’t fully reflect New York City hospitals’ widespread and successful efforts to improve patient outcomes across the board.”

“While there is always room for improvement and infection control will always be a challenge, hospitals are deeply committed to patient safety and will continue to make steady progress in reducing [complications],” he said.

Terry Hill, a spokesman for Lenox Hill also spoke out, saying “Whenever the state or federal governments or ‘hospital report cards’ identify a quality issue, we are already aware of it and working aggressively to resolve it.”

Similarly, a spokeswoman for NYU Langone said, “Other reliable and comprehensive measures of safety demonstrate that our patient safety is excellent and, like many hospitals, is constantly improving.”

New York hospital malpractice lawyers

When seeking medical treatment at a hospital, you expect the healthcare team on staff to help you feel better, but it doesn’t always work out that way. If you or a loved one was harmed in a hospital setting, it’s important to know you’re not alone. The hospital malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm are here to right for your rights. We’re committed to helping you receive the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

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  1. New York Post, 17 NYC Hospitals to be Fined for Infections, Other Complications http://nypost.com/2014/12/28/17-nyc-hospitals-to-be-fined-for-infections-other-complications/

  2. Silive.com, Staten Island Hospitals Narrowly Avoid Federal Penalties for Rate of Patient Infections, Injuries http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/report_government_to_cut_medic.html