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Medicare Penalizes Ten Wyoming Hospitals

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Medicare has penalized nine Wyoming hospitals this year for high rates of readmission and Aspen Mountain Medical Center in Rock Springs for a high rate of hospital-acquired illnesses.

According to data from health news organization Kaiser Health News, hospitals can receive cuts to their reimbursements from Medicare. This includes up to three percent per Medicare patient for readmission cases and a one percent cut overall to Medicare reimbursements for hospital-acquired conditions.

The nine hospitals affected by this year's penalties are: St. John's Medical Center in Jackson; Mountain View Regional Hospital and Wyoming Medical Center in Casper; Cheyenne Regional Medical Center; Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette; Evanston Regional Hospital; SageWest Health Care in Riverton; Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs; and Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie.

Five of these hospitals have received the readmission penalty for the fifth straight year, according to Kaiser's data. Those hospitals include Wyoming Medical Center and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Supporters say the ratings are a way for hospitals to improve their quality, but hospital groups have criticized the penalty system as an unfair way to judge hospital performance.

Nationally, Medicare penalized 800 hospitals this year for the higher rates of hospital-acquired conditions.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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