The Affordable Care Act is cutting Medicare benefits to local hospitals.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, hospitals in Central Florida are among half of the hospitals around the nation to be penalized by Medicare. The reason for these punishments? The readmission rates of these hospitals are higher than the rates permitted by federal rules.
These punishments are part of the Affordable Care Act, which includes a program penalizing hospitals for having an excessive number of Medicare patients who return to the hospital less than one month after their initial discharge. The reasoning behind this program is to motivate hospitals to pay closer attention to the health of patients after discharge, but some hospitals have complained, calling the program unfair.
In Florida, 81 percent of the hospitals received an average Medicare cut of 0.67 percent, which was about .05 percent higher than the national average.
What this means for Central Florida, is that the Osceola Regional Medical Center will have its Medicare reimbursement cut by 2.05 percent starting in October. In addition, Florida Hospital’s Medicare reimbursement will be cut by 1.18 percent; Central Florida Regional Hospital’s by 0.96 percent; and Orlando Health’s by 0.48 percent.
This penalty program is now in its fourth year. So far, the only local hospital with a reduced penalty rate from last year was Orlando Health, while Osceola Regional’s penalty rates have regularly increased since 2013 from 0.76 percent to the current 2.05 percent.