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Baystate Franklin among 751 hospitals punished under Obamacare

  • The Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. Recorder file photo



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

GREENFIELD — Baystate Franklin Medical Center is among 751 hospitals in the country being punished for too-high rates of patient injury this past year.

The federal government has cut payments to hospitals with high rates of patient injuries, such as infections acquired in the hospital. Those hospitals will lose 1 percent of Medicare payments over the federal fiscal year, which runs from October through September, Kaiser Health News is reporting. This penalty was created by the Affordable Care Act and began four years ago.

“We are confident in the safety of care given at our community hospitals and recognize that the impact of a few conditions at smaller and rural community hospitals like Baystate Franklin Medical Center and Baystate Noble Hospital may affect these ratings and reimbursements,” Baystate Health spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett said in a statement.

Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield and Mercy Medical Center in Springfield were also among those penalized, according to the Medicare.gov website.

Hospitals are penalized for high rates of patient injuries in an effort to limit issues like blood clots and bedsores, Kaiser Health News reported. More than half of the 751 were also penalized last year.

Baystate Franklin was not penalized last year.

Greenfield Health Department Director Alexeev Jones called the issue of “great concern,” in an emailed statement.

“Hospitals must become proactive in utilization of public health preventive methods in dealing with patient safety,” Jones said. “Hospitals including Baystate Franklin hospital should take a look at their approach to patient care and what is necessary to assure patient safety.”

High and low marks

Hazlett, the Baystate Health spokeswoman, touted Franklin and Noble’s four-star hospital rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as well as the “A” patient safety rating the hospitals scored in a review by Leapfrog, a nonprofit organization that annually grades hospitals. The hospital did receive a low grade from Leapfrog on limiting urinary catheter infections.

Jones said he sees that Baystate Franklin is working at improving its services, but “something that must be looked at is the disproportionate level of resources and training that is sometimes neglected within some institutions of health, particularly those in rural locations.

“This is a wake-up to most hospitals that something must be done to improve patient overall experience when putting their faith in a hospital when being admitted for any type of treatment,” Jones said.

You can reach
Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264