More than 700 facilities have been hit with stiff penalties from the government for not doing enough to cut down on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). And, according to reports, that pressure will continue until hospitals turn their programs around.

One out of every seven hospitals in the nation will have their Medicare reimbursement lowered by 1 percent for having the highest rates of HAIs, according to Kaiser Health News. About $373 million in penalties are getting dolled out nationwide.

But certain types of facilities are getting hit harder than others, particularly those that handle more complex cases. Data indicates that about half of teaching hospitals are getting penalized, likely because academic medical centers often handle more difficult, HAI-prone services, such as organ transplants.

Each year, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reassesses the penalities and which HAIs they’ll be based on. In the next two years, hospitals will be penalized based on their rates of surgical-site infections and the prevalence of antibiotic resistant germs C.diff and MRSA.

Facilities will have to pull out all the stops to reduce HAIs and patient harm if they wish to to avoid future penalties. Hospitals should consider what kind of services they provide, and how likely patients are to develop HAIs during those procedures. This can give you a better understanding of what areas in your facility may need additional attention.

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