AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The federal government has cut funding to 61 Texas hospitals, two of which are in our area.
BSA and Hereford Regional Medical Center will be receiving less federal money this coming year, after the government says a number of patients developed infections or injuries.
But officials from both hospitals are speaking out about what they say is dated information.
The federal government has cut payments to 769 hospitals nation-wide with what they say had high rates of patient injuries or infections. Amarillo's BSA and Hereford Regional Medical Center are both on the list to lose 1 percent of all Medicare payments for a year.
In a statement, BSA tells us,
"The information related to the healthcare acquired conditions is dated information and the area where we did have opportunities for improvement was largely due to not classifying the complexity of certain patients as acutely ill as they were. We have demonstrated significant improvements in those areas due to proper classification of complex patients and a continued focus on improving our quality initiatives. That improvement in quality is objectively evidenced by CMS on their national website listing BSA as a 4 star hospital. Only 20% of hospitals nationwide have that distinction and BSA Hospital is the highest-rated and only 4-star hospital in Amarillo. We constantly focus on progress, processes and outcomes and use that information to continually refine and improve. We take any opportunity for improvement very seriously. It is BSA's top priority to provide quality healthcare and to provide that level of quality in Christian love, service and dignity to a community that so richly deserves the best medical care and the best service possible."
Deaf Smith County Hospital District CEO Jeff Barnhart says he is glad the government looks at these areas.
"My concern is the terminology that they use," says Barnhart. "When they say patient injury, I think sometimes that gives a negative connotation like we're actually pushing people down or you know, harming somebody. But patient infections are important too...It's difficult sometimes because people come in with infections and so sometimes you know that they do and sometimes you don't. And I think the industry is a little concerned to because you know if you want to be real vigilant and check people out, you can be penalized for that as well, so if we wanted to check everybody coming in, that could hurt us as well."
It is unclear what BSA is being penalized for. Hereford's hospital was on the list for two C. Diff infections during the near two-year time period.
"I will certainly own the fact that we had the two infections," says Barnhart. "But I think it's real important that the public know too that most people if not all have C. Diff in their gut."
The hospitals identified by federal officials will lose payments for a year, though the dollar amount is still unknown.
"We're talking about data that's almost two years old. There's been a lot of changes here. We've had management changes things like that. We're doing everything that we can do be a zero injury or infection hospital."
Hereford officials will continue to operate the kind of hospital that they would want their own family to receive care at.
To see the full list of hospitals receiving the penalties, click here.