What We're Reading: CMS Penalizes 758 Hospitals Over Patient Safety

What we're reading, December 11, 2015: CMS penalized hospitals for patient safety deficiences; MedPAC approved reducing Medicare Advantage plan reimbursement; and Kentuckians favor keeping Medicaid expansion.

More than 750 hospitals were penalized for higher rates of patient safety incidents, according to data from CMS. Kaiser Health News reported that more than half of the 758 hospitals penalized were also fined last year and some well-known institutions, such as Stanford Health Care, Denver Health Medical Center, and 2 hospitals run by the Mayo Clinic Health System, are being punished for the first time. Medicare payments to penalized hospitals will be reduced by 1% over the course of the year.

Meanwhile, Medicare Advantage plan reimbursement will be reduced by at least $200 million. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission supports Congressional legislation that would allow the HHS secretary to eliminate benchmark caps and the “double bonuses” now available to plans, reported Modern Healthcare.

Medicaid expansion in the state of Kentucky may not be going anywhere if residents have a say. A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that although the state’s new governor, Republican Matt Bevin, opposes the Affordable Care Act and has called for reversing Medicaid expansion, 7 in 10 residents want the program to stay as it is. According to The New York Times, even a majority of Republicans said they would prefer not to scale back Medicaid to cover fewer people.