BOZEMAN — Medicare is reducing payments to nine Montana hospitals under a program that penalizes costly readmissions within a month of treatment for heart and lung diseases as well as knee and hip replacement surgery.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program evaluated 14 Montana hospitals and will reduce Medicare payments by a small percentage for nine of them for a year, starting Oct. 1.
The program is meant to ensure patients get necessary follow-up care after a hospital stay.
Bob Olsen is senior vice president of the Montana Hospital Association. He says from October 2018 through September 2019, Montana hospitals lost $590,000 due to the penalties. Over the next year, Olsen estimates the loss will be $260,000.
The association estimates Montana hospitals will receive $600,000 in bonus payments for improving treatment quality.