Photograph by Davis Burroughs

Based on the latest report from Kaiser Health News, Medicare reduced payments to 800 hospitals across the nation, penalizing them for high numbers of injuries and infections among patients. Eighteen of these hospitals are located in Virginia and they will each lose 1% of their Medicare payments.

The list of hospitals includes:

  • Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
  • University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke
  • VCU Health System in Richmond
  • Novant Health UVA Prince William Medical Center in Manassas
  • Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg
  • Bedford Memorial Hospital
  • Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital in Rocky Mount
  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax
  • Hiram Davis Medical Center in Petersburg
  • Reston Hospital Center
  • Chippenham and Johnston-Willis hospitals in Richmond
  • Lewisgale Hospital Pulaski
  • Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital
  • Chesapeake General Hospital
  • Halquist Memorial Inpatient Center in Arlington
  • Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Fredericksburg

The penalties are part of a program set up under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and are designed to improve the healthcare system through incentives that tie payments to performance.

The penalty comes on top of an existing reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals with high rates of patient readmission. 64% of Virginia hospitals were penalized for having too many patients wind up back in their care within 30 days of being released from the hospital.

Several of the aforementioned hospitals received penalties in the past too.

Julian Walker, spokesman for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, released a statement, asserting that the group has worked to reduce readmissions alongside its 110 member hospitals through its Center for Excellence, formed in 2015.

Walker said that 35 participating hospitals prevented 1,851 “patient harm incidents” between September 2015 and September 2016, which saved $16.5 million in healthcare spending.

Virginia’s healthcare system still has a long way to go before it meets the standard set by the ACA. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how reduced Medicare payments will be passed onto patients.