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IL hospitals facing Medicare penalties over infection rates

Chicago Tribune / Kaiser Health News, June 23, 2014

At least six Illinois hospitals are at risk of having their Medicare payments docked this fall, the government's toughest effort yet to crack down on unnecessary infections and other patient injuries, federal records show. Included on that list is Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which logged one of the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions in Illinois. Based on preliminary federal data, Northwestern and at least five other Illinois hospitals are facing annual penalties that could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, starting in October. The financial penalties, which amount to 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year, are designed to provide a powerful incentive for hospitals to improve patient care and, as a result, save the federal government and taxpayers money.