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Three Hospitals Penalized For Avoidable Infections, Injuries

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon

Three New Hampshire hospitals will be penalized next year for potentially avoidable mistakes, such as patient infections and injuries.

The federal government claims Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon and Eliot Hospital and Catholic Medical Center in Manchester should have done more to protect people from a list of "hospital-acquired conditions" in 2013. Those conditions include falls, bed sores, and infections from catheters.

As a result, in the fiscal year starting next October, the feds will penalize those three hospitals one percent of their Medicare payments.

The Affordable Care Act aims to use Medicare payments as leverage to force hospitals to take better care of their patients. This is just the latest in a series of such penalties issued to New Hampshire hospitals.

Nationally, hospitals have complained these penalties are arbitrary.

Still, Dartmouth, Eliot and Catholic Medical Center join a list of 721 hospitals around the country that will be penalized in 2015. Half of New Hampshire's hospitals are exempt from these penalties.

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