Medicare Penalizes Hospitals

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Compared to the rest of the country, a much higher percentage of hospitals in North Carolina received a bonus from Medicare this year based on quality measures. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal government data.

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The federal government is cutting Medicare payments to one-fifth of North Carolina hospitals because of high rates of infections or other complications. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the penalties released Thursday.

Medicare will begin penalizing hospitals Monday that have too many repeat patients who check back in due to complications. The penalties will come out of Medicare’s payments to the hospitals, and they're part of President Obama's health care law. 

Nearly one out of every five Medicare patients who walks into a hospital today will be back in the hospital within a month. That’s according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and improving that ratio is what the penalties are all about.