Lutheran faces Medicare penalty

Lutheran Hospital and the Orthopedic Hospital at Lutheran are two of the 751 hospitals in the US losing one percent of Medicare payments

Posted: Jan. 8, 2018 10:50 PM
Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 8:50 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Lutheran Health Network is facing penalties from the federal government.

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Lutheran Hospital and the Orthopedic Hospital at Lutheran are two of the 751 hospitals in the US losing one percent of Medicare payments during the federal fiscal year (October - September) because of patient safety.

This isn't the first time the network has been hit.

The penalties are issued to hospitals with high rates of patient injuries or infections.

At least one hospital in the Lutheran Health Network has been hit with these penalties since 2015, when these penalties started under the Affordable Care Act.

In an email, LHN spokesman Geoff Thomas said the Orthopedic Hospital was above the national average in 10 areas, but failed to meet standards because of clostridium difficile, or C. diff. infections.

C. diff. is a bacteria infection that can cause a wide range of symptoms, including life -threatening colon inflammation.

Thomas said since the Ortho Hospital sees fewer patients, one person can make a difference in these reports.

As for Lutheran Hospital .... Thomas said C. diff. infections are also the main reason for the penalty.

However, he noted the flagship hospital has made improvements over last year.

Those include:

• Conducting daily review and analysis of patient care to reduce complications;
• Using evidence-based checklists to monitor control of infections and complications and adherence to best practices;
• Participation in state and national programs that help hospitals strengthen infection control efforts and establish best practices;
• Creation of a multidisciplinary team with focus on reducing readmissions – preparation for discharge and weekly follow-up calls for patients with chronic disease.

IU Health also has two hospitals in central Indiana facing the same penalty.

Parkview met federal standards and isn't penalized.

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