The federal government is punishing three Hawaii hospitals for having high rates of avoidable infections.

Maui Memorial Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center and Wahiawa General Hospital were among 758 hospital nationwide that will be docked 1 percent of Medicare payments in 2016.

The three Hawaii hospitals were among the worst-performing 25 percent of all hospitals in the country when it comes to reducing hospital-acquired infections. Maui Memorial had the highest rates of preventable conditions.

Brandt Farias, the vice president of marketing at Hawaii Pacific Health, said Pali Momi has made changes to reduce the rates of hospital-acquired conditions and would not be subject to the penalty based on current data.  However, the government analyzed data from 2012 through 2014.

The penalties are based on the government’s assessment of several conditions such as hip fractures, bedsores, infections caused by surgeries and catheters.

Medicare estimates the penalties will cost hospitals $364 million nationwide. This is the second year of the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The sanctions are the toughest Medicare has enforced on hospital safety.  

UPW wants to prevent the state from privatizing Maui Memorial, seen here.
Maui Memorial had the worst safety score of all Hawaii hospitals. Chad Blair/Civil Beat

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