Obamacare may give boost to KRMC

Kingman Regional Medical Center is not on the list of more than 2,200 medical facilities across the country facing fines from the federal government for Medicare patients that have been readmitted within 30 days of leaving a hospital.

In fact, KRMC may get a bonus for its patient care.

The federal government started fining medical facilities on Monday as another part of the Affordable Care Act kicked in, according to the Associated Press.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hospital Compare website, Medicare and Medicaid compare the number of patients over the age of 65 who were treated for a heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia in a private or Veterans Affairs hospital and have been readmitted to a hospital within 30 days to the national average.

If a hospital isn't better than or equal to the national average, a hospital can be fined up to 1 percent of its Medicare inpatient money.

According to the Associated Press, the average fine is expected to be around $125,000 per facility.

KRMC is not one of the hospitals being penalized, said hospital CEO Brian Turney. The Hospital Compare website lists KRMC's rates of readmission for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia as "no different than the U.S. national rate."

The current national readmission rate for heart attacks is 19.7 percent. The national rate for heart failure is 24.7 percent and the rate for pneumonia is 18.5 percent.

"Our focus has been trying to discharge people to the right setting for appropriate follow-up care and educating and encouraging patients to take of themselves after discharge," Turney stated in an email.

While the hospital won't be getting dinged for readmissions, it may receive an extra $125,000 from Medicaid for good patient satisfaction and core clinical measures scores.

According to the website, out of the 2,409 hospitals that take care of enough Medicare heart attack patients to measure properly, 30 hospitals were better than the national re-admittance rate, 2,338 hospitals were about the same as the national rate and 41 hospitals were worse than then the national rate.

All of the 47 hospitals in Arizona that qualified for the study met the national rate of re-admittance.

When it comes to re-admittance rates for Medicare heart failure patients, 95 of the 4,216 Medicare hospitals that could be measured were better than the national average, 3,959 were equal to the national rate and 162 were worse.

In Arizona, 61 of the hospitals that could be counted met the national rate and two did not.

For Medicare patients treated for pneumonia and readmitted to the hospital, 33 hospitals out of 4,483 hospitals were better than the national rate of 18.5 percent, 4,325 were the same as the national rate and 125 were worse than the national rate.

In Arizona, all 70 hospitals that had enough cases to be measured met the national rate.

According to the Associated Press, the penalties for not meeting at least the national rate will increase to 3 percent of a hospital's Medicare payments by 2014. Medicare will also start to gradually increase the number of procedures it measures to include joint replacements, stents, heart bypasses and stroke treatment.