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Staten Island Hospitals Narrowly Escape Federal Penalties for High Rates of Infections, Complications

Jan 7, 2015

Staten Island's two hospitals scored just high enough in ratings of patient infections, complications and injuries to avoid federal penalties including cuts to Medicare payments.

Seventeen New York City hospitals will be penalized, according to a report released this week. Staten Island University Hospital and Richmond University Medical Center, the borough’s two hospitals, narrowly escaped the penalties, the Staten Island Advance reports.

Under provisions of the federal health care law, more than 700 hospitals nationwide – one in seven – will have Medicare payments lowered by 1 percent in the fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2014 through September 2015. The reductions are mandated for hospitals with the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). This includes infections from catheters, blood clots, bedsores, and other complications that are considered avoidable, according to

In determining penalties, Medicare judged hospitals on three criteria: the frequency of central-line bloodstream infections caused by tubes used to pump fluids or medicine into veins; infections from catheters to remove urine; and rates of eight serious complications such as collapsed lungs, surgical cuts, tears and reopened wounds and broken hips. Medicare tallied the rates and gave each hospital a score on a 10-point scale. Hospitals with a total score above 7 were penalized, reports.

SIUH got an overall HAC score of 6.75, avoiding a penalty, but the hospital scored a 10 in the category of serious complications. RUMC fared only slightly better, with an overall HAC score of 6.07, and a 9 in the complications category. Kings County Hospital and Brookdale Medical Center, both in Brooklyn, had the worst scores in the city, with nearly 10 out of 10, the New York Post reported.

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