Hospitals across the country are being penalized by Medicare for patient safety. The federal government will lower a year's worth of Medicare payments to over 700 hospitals.

Three local Tennessee hospitals are taking a financial hit. 

Erlanger, Parkridge, and Tennova-Cleveland all made the list.

It means Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by 1 percent for the 2018 fiscal year.

Kaiser Health News reports 751 of the more than 3,000 hospitals reviewed were penalized.

That's down 18 from last year. 

The penalties come from a program within the Affordable Care Act. It is designed as a financial incentive for hospitals to avoid infections and other mishaps, such as blood clots and bedsores.

They also look at things like in-hospital falls and complications from surgery. 

Parkridge Medical Center, Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland, and Erlanger will lose 1 percent payments for the 2018 fiscal year. Hospital officials didn't say how much their 1 percent losses would cost them. 

It's the first time Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland has made the list. A hospital spokesperson, Stephanie Austin said, “We have adopted measures to make certain the best possible outcomes are achieved at all times.” 

But for Erlanger, it's the third time since 2015. Pamela Gordon, Erlanger's Vice President of Safety and Quality said, “Erlanger's statistics will be on the upper end of the reports because of the type and volume of patients who are treated at our hospitals."  

Other hospitals in our area include Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton and Gordon Hospital in Calhoun, Georgia.

“Erlanger is the region’s only Level One Trauma Center, highest level stroke center, and public health system.  Erlanger sees the most patients in the region with high acuity or two or more diseases or medical conditions.  Erlanger’s statistics will be on the upper end of the reports because of the type and volume of patients who are treated at our hospitals.  Our medical specialists continue to analyze processes to keep patient care their number one priority by focusing on quality measures to ensure the safety of all patients.“ 

Pamela Gordon
VP Safety and Quality 
Erlanger Health System


“We take patient safety very seriously at Gordon Hospital. We are the only 5-star CMS rated hospital in Northwest Georgia (medicare.gov) and we’re one of only 59 hospitals in the country to receive straight A’s in patient safety every year from the Leapfrog Group since its establishment.  While these rating systems can be somewhat confusing, Gordon Hospital supports programs that effectively promote patient safety improvements, like the CMS and Leapfrog ratings. We are deeply committed to keeping patients safe.” 

Garrett Nudd 
President of the Foundation, Director of Marketing & Philanthropy
Gordon Hospital 


“Hamilton Medical Center is committed to providing excellent, quality care and services to our community. Though we are disappointed to be included on the Medicare list (based on data from 2015 and 2016), we are proud of our current safety achievements, including the CareChex Overall Hospital Care – Patient Safety Award and our Number 5 ranking for large hospitals in Georgia. Our dedicated medical staff members are always working on making improvements. We have made significant strides and are happy that our initiatives have been successful and that data for 2017 has been excellent.”

Shirley Parker
Director of Quality, Accreditation and Medical Staff Services
Hamilton Medical Center 


“Tennova Healthcare – Cleveland is committed to providing safe, quality care for every patient.  Our physicians, nurses and other clinicians actively work to continually improve care, and measurement helps identify progress and opportunities to further improvement.  Our Quality and Safety Committee as well as our Leadership and Medical Staff committees review results and, where necessary, enhance our clinical procedures based on scientific evidence and best practices. We have adopted measures to make certain the best possible outcomes are achieved at all times.” 

Stephanie Austin
Public Information Officer/Marketing  
Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland 

Channel 3 reached out to Parkridge Medical Center as well. They tell us they will be sending a statement soon.