Preventable hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) persist as a major quality and cost of care problem more than a decade after the seminal Institute of Medicine Report, "To Err is Human" found that nearly 98,000 patients die each from medical errors. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has been a recognized leader in efforts to reduce these errors through the 100,000 Lives and 5 Million Lives Campaigns. More recently, the Partnership for Patients established a goal of reducing preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent.
Medicare no longer pays hospitals for treating certain secondary diagnoses if they are not present on admission (POA). The following parameters are used by Medicare to identify HACs, including some infections, for non-payment:
Please click here for an overview of the HAC rule as well as the Agency's plans to add to the list in the future.
Hospital-Acquired Conditions Fact Sheet
Present on Admission Indicator Reporting Fact Sheet
A provision was included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals in the top 25th percentile for certain high-cost and common HACs. This payment adjustment is in addition to payment penalties faced by hospitals under 1) the preexisting HACs-POA policy and 2) a Hospital-Value Based Purchasing Program that is supposed to be up and running by 2013.
The ACA also requires that Medicare submit a report to Congress on the appropriateness of establishing a HAC policy for other healthcare providers. The following healthcare provider will be included the report: nursing homes, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, outpatient hospital departments, ambulatory surgical centers, and health clinics.
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