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Cabell Huntington Hospital 1 of 55 Hospitals in the US Penalized by Medicare 8 Years Straight Over Patient Complications



Out of more than 6000 hospitals in the United States, Cabell Huntington joins 54 others on Medicare’s penalty list for 8 consecutive years. The Medicare Hospital Acquired Conditions Reductions Program cuts payments by 1 percent for hospitals that fall in the worst-performing 25% in the country. More than 2,000 hospitals have been penalized at least once in the eight years since the program began. Fifty-five hospitals have penalized all eight years according to Kaiser Health News.

The program evaluates several quality measures including rates of infections, blood clots, and other complications that occur in hospitals and might have been prevented. Research conducted by Kaiser Health News have found little evidence that the penalties are getting hospitals to improve their efforts to avert bedsores, falls, infections and other accidents.

“Unfortunately, pretty much in every regard, the program has been a failure,” Andrew Ryan, a professor of health care management at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health told Kaiser Health News. ”

One reason for low healthcare quality scores in West Virginia hospitals could be that all hospitals in the state are protected legislatively by Certificate of Need (CON). The original hope was that CON would restrain healthcare costs, increase healthcare quality and improve access to care for poor and underserved communities. It is now widely accepted and documented by organizations like the National Institute for Health that Certificate of Need laws have instead limited access, degraded quality, and increased cost.

Other national programs measure hospital safety. Once such a program is conducted by Leapfrog. Thousands of hospitals nationwide report to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey to help patients and purchasers make better healthcare decisions. Cabell Huntington did not participate. Leapfrog does still measure other quality measures of the hospital. Cabell Huntington performs worse than average in several outcomes including “Death from serious treatable complications after surgery.” The link to the entire report can be found here.

The Affordable Care Act also penalizes hospitals for patient readmissions. Many West Virginia hospitals including Cabell Huntington are penalized for these outcomes as well. Princeton Community Hospital received the highest percentage of re-admission penalties in West Virginia with a 2.88% penalty in 2023. (Down from 3.0% in 2022).

Below is a table showing hospitals across the state that were penalized under the Medicare Hospital Acquired Conditions Reductions Program for the last three years.


  • Staff Writer

    From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting “Staff Writer” indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.


From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting "Staff Writer" indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

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