Medicare’s new authority to fine hospitals

Oconee Medical Center, like other hospitals across the country, is feeling one of the first direct impacts this week of the two-year old national health care law. And one of OMC’s officials sees the Medicare change as well intentioned for both the well being of the patient and the well being of the government’s insurance program covering elderly care. With the government year that started Monday, Medicare will now begin to fine hospitals that have too many patients re-admitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. It’s something hospitals are smart to budget for, though in the case of OMC, the expectation is that the hospital’s total fines will be relatively small. We spoke to Reba Cartee, vice president quality and physician collaboration, and her remarks can be heard Wednesday on 96.3/WGOG NEWS.