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A quarter of the nation’s hospitals in October will receive lower Medicare payments because their rates of patient complications are higher than their peers. Federal officials released a preliminary analysis in April scoring hospitals and provisionally assigning penalties to 761 hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services assessed hospitals’ rates of infections in patients with catheters in major veins and their bladders as well as eight other patient injuries, including blood clots, bed sores and accidental falls. For each hospital in its analysis, Medicare calculated a preliminary “hospital acquired-condition” score from 1 to 10, with the higher number indicating that the hospital had a greater rate of patient harm. Later this year, Medicare will release the final scores in this Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. Hospitals getting the penalty, which was created by the federal health law, will lose 1 percent of each Medicare payment from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2015.

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