In 2015, over 700 U.S. hospitals will be penalized for high rates of hospital acquired conditions (HAC). These penalties are part of the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program that was established as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The program was started to give hospitals an incentive to reduce their rate of HACs. The penalty for hospitals that rank in the quartile with the worst HAC scores is a one percent reduction in their Medicare payments.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines HACs as a group of reasonably preventable conditions that patients did not have upon admission to a hospital, but which developed during the hospital stay. One the most common Hospital-Acquired Conditions is a Healthcare Acquired Infection (HAI). These infections can include bloodstream infections and surgical site infections.
Risks for a HAI can come from contamination of the environment and transmission of viruses and bacteria between patients and healthcare workers. Hospitals can help prevent these infections by following the CDC hand hygiene recommendations and using healthcare equipment with antimicrobial properties such as antimicrobial catheters or antimicrobial scales.
To learn more about the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program visit: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/AcuteInpatientPPS/HAC-Reduction-Program.html
Hospitals’ HAC ratings can be viewed at http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare