Dozens of Texas hospitals that receive Medicare dollars will likely be penalized for their rates of complications and infections during inpatient stays, part of the federal government's recent effort to improve the quality of hospital care.
Through the hospital-acquired condition (HAC) reduction program, which was created by the federal Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has identified 58 Texas hospitals that are likely to receive lower Medicare payments for a year beginning in October because their rates of preventable infections or conditions are higher than at peer hospitals.
The preliminary penalties are part of nationwide assessment released by federal officials earlier this year, one that identified about a quarter of the nation's hospitals for a reduction in Medicare payments through September 2015.
In Texas, the hospitals with preliminary penalties are largely clustered in North and East Texas.
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Almost half of the Texas hospitals that are likely to be penalized are located in five counties: Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, Collin and Travis.
The assessment scores are based on several measures, including hospitals' rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections and serious complications after surgery.
Some scores could still change. The preliminary numbers were calculated based on infections that occurred between July 2012 and June 2013; CMS's final assessment timeframe will be January 2012 through December 2013. Health care experts say they still expect those hospitals with high preliminary scores to remain on the final penalty list.
Use the map below to see the Texas hospitals that have been assigned a preliminary penalty by CMS. Each hospital received a score ranging from 1 to 10; the higher scores indicate a higher rate of hospital-acquired conditions. Hospitals with a score above 7 in the preliminary assessment could face penalties.
This story was produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.