UVa Medical Center Fined for High Infection Rates

The University of Virginia Medical Center will be penalized a third consecutive year for its high rate of hospital-acquired infections and various medical complications. Findings conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concluded that UVa Medical Center did not satisfy the standards set by CMS. As a result, the UVa Medical Center will lose $1.8 million from the federal government in Medicaid coverage for the 2017 fiscal year. Previously, The University of Virginia Medical Center had a $2 million penalty implemented for hospital-acquired infections from 2012 to 2014.

Photo courtesy UVA Health System

In the studies performed by CMS, the UVa Medical Center ranked in the bottom quartile of all the hospitals evaluated. Statistically, the Medical Center’s rate for death after surgical complications was found to be slightly above the national average. Additionally, it had a concerning above average rate of clostridium difficile infections; an infection that occurs when antibiotics kill helpful bacteria within the intestine. Those are only a few of the qualities in which the Medical Center was penalized on, and Dr. Tracey Hoke, the chief of quality and performance at the UVa medical center, understands the severity of the penalty.

“We full admitted we were a little late to the game,” Hoke said. “We have to catch up and exceed to move our place on the list.”

However, Hoke explains that there are significant strides being made in order to prevent future penalties.

“In the last 18 months our catheter-associated urinary tract infections rate is down 15 percent, and our catheter-associated blood stream infection rate is down 33 percent…it should be acknowledged that our rates are really a collective rate of the commonwealth.”

This past year, U.S News and World Report ranked the UVa Medical Center the number one hospital in Virginia.

Hoke explains, “These ranking systems are all different and each one has a little bit different methodology.”

Hopefully, the U.S News and World Report is a promising indicator that the Medical Center will not be impacted by future penalties.


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