Nine hospitals in a region that stretches from Bedford to Tazewell will see their Medicare reimbursements cut this year for having too many patient readmissions.
The penalties, part of the new federal health care law, are aimed at prodding hospitals nationwide to do a better job of making sure that patients admitted with heart problems and pneumonia don’t wind up back in the hospital too quickly.
Starting in October, hospitals in the region will have their Medicare payments docked from .03 percent to 1.6 percent.
The government program — described as a “blunt instrument” by one hospital industry advocate — has resulted in payment reductions for about two-thirds of the nation’s hospitals.
A total of $227 million will be withheld from 2,225 hospitals in the coming fiscal year, according to Kathryn Ceja, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In the Roanoke and New River valleys, all four LewisGale hospitals and five run by Carilion Clinic will have their payments reduced.