CMS penalizes 2,499 hospitals for high readmissions: 5 things to know

By Ayla Ellison for Becker’s Hospital Review

In fiscal year 2022, CMS will penalize 2,499 hospitals for having too many Medicare patients readmitted within 30 days, according to federal data analyzed by Kaiser Health News.

This is the 10th year of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. To determine penalties for fiscal year 2022, CMS used patient data from July 2017 through December 2019 and compared each hospital’s reported readmission rate to national averages. The penalties typically are based on three years of patient data, but CMS excluded data for the first six months of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.

Here are five takeaways from the Kaiser Health News analysis published Oct. 28:

  1. Eighty-two percent of the 3,046 hospitals CMS evaluated were assessed a penalty. In fiscal year 2021, 83 percent of hospitals evaluated were penalized.
  2. CMS will cut payments to the penalized hospitals by as much as 3 percent for each Medicare patient stay during fiscal year 2022, which runs from Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022.
  3. Thirty-nine hospitals were hit with the maximum penalty for fiscal year 2022.
  4. The average punishment will be a 0.64 percent payment cut for each Medicare patient stay.
  5. The penalties will save Medicare an estimated $521 million over the next fiscal year.
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