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More Michigan hospitals to pay penalty for infection rates

Nurses at the University of Michigan Health System say the hospital is asking for too many concessions in a proposed contract.
Nurses at the University of Michigan Health System say the hospital is asking for too many concessions in a proposed contract.

Twenty-four Michigan hospitals will pay a penalty for having too many patients with infections they contracted while in their care.

That's up from last year, when 21 of the state's hospitals paid the penalty – which is 1% of the hospital's Medicare funding.

Laura Wotruba is with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

She says the federal law unfairly punishes teaching and urban hospitals, which have sicker patients.

"When you're dealing with somebody that is that sick, they have very compromised immune systems, and the risk of a hospital acquired conditions goes up," says Wotruba.

She says another unfair aspect of the law is that the bottom 25% of hospitals must pay a penalty, even if they have dramatically improved their infection rates.

Wotruba says overall, Michigan hospitals have dramatically reduced hospital-acquired infections.

Since 2011, for example, she says cases of septic shock have been reduced by 34%.

And central line bloodstream infections fell 69% between 2004 and 2014.

The 24 hospitals who will pay the penalty in 2015 are:

• Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo
• Carson City Hospital in Carson City
• DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital in Detroit
• DMC Harper University Hospital in Detroit
• DMC Sinai-Grace in Detroit
• Doctor's Hospital of Michigan in Pontiac
• Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc
• Henry Ford Macomb in Clinton Township
• Hurley Medical Center in Flint
• McLaren Flint in Flint
• McLaren Macomb in Mt. Clemens
• Mercy Health Saint Mary's in Grand Rapids
• MidMichigan Center-Clare in Clare
• North Ottawa Community Health Center in Grand Haven
• Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall
• Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn
• ProMedica Monroe Regional in Monroe
• Spectrum Health Big Rapids in Big Rapids
• Spectrum Health Butterworth in Grand Rapids
• St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac
• St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron in Port Huron
• Tawas St. Joseph Hospital in Tawas City
• Three Rivers Hospital in Three Rivers
• West Branch Regional Medical Center in West Branch


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.