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Exeter and Portsmouth Hospitals Hit With Medicare Penalty

sskennel via Flickr Creative Commons

Two New Hampshire hospitals will receive less Medicare reimbursement next year due to relatively high rates of patient injuries and infections.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government penalizes hospitals that have high rates of what are considered preventable hospital-acquired injuries, such as infections or bed sores.

According to new figures released by Medicare, Exeter Hospital and Portsmouth Regional Hospital both scored in the bottom 25 percent nationally, triggering a 1 percent reduction in Medicare payments. This is the second year in a row Exeter Hospital has been penalized.

Officials from both hospitals couldn’t be reached for comment.

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, as well as Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, each faced penalties during the previous three years, but achieved higher scores during the latest Medicare assessment period.

The program is designed to encourage hospitals to focus more attention on preventable conditions, which drive up the cost of patient care.

Hospital industry groups complain that the federal government’s calculations unfairly penalize health care facilities that treat a higher percentage of low-income patients, as well as facilities that do a better job of tracking patient infections. 

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