Houston-area hospitals face penalties over infections

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HOUSTON, TX – We thought hospitals were meant to heal you, not to get you sick. But it looks like 58 medical centers in Texas, 9 of them in the Houston area, could be penalized for high rates of hospital-acquired infections.

Those hospitals receive Medicare dollars and might face penalties, the Texas Tribune reports, consisting of lower Medicare payments for a year.

“The infections that most commonly happen in the hospital are urinary infections related to the use of catheters within the bladder and infections that happen in the blood stream resulting from the insertion of catheters in the veins,” explained Dr. Gabriel Aisenberg, MD, an internal medicine and infectious diseases specialist from UT Health Science Center at Houston.

The institutions that ranked badly in the preliminary assessment are: the Doctors Hospital Tidwell, Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center and the Westbury Community Hospital in Houston, Tomball Regional Medical Center, UTMB Galveston, Christus St. John Hospital in Nassau Bay, Memorial Medical Center Livingston, St. Luke’s Lakeside Hospital in The Woodlands, Cleveland Regional Medical Center and Kingwood Medical Center.

The evaluation system is a direct consequence of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, aimed at avoiding preventable infections and, rumor has it, saving some Medicare-Medicaid pennies.  So, come on doctors, get your germs in order.