(Reuters Health) – A penalty program established to reduce infections and other complications in U.S. hospitals hasn’t made these events less likely or reduced fatalities or repeat hospitalizations, a large study suggests.

The program was created as part of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, to provide stronger incentives for hospitals to prevent infections and other illnesses that can make hospitalized patients sicker, researchers note in The BMJ.

The study team examined data on more than 15 million patients aged 65 and older who were treated at 3,238 hospitals between July 2014 and November 2016. This covered the first two fiscal years when hospitals were aware of their potential to be penalized for low quality scores.

Credit: David Trinks

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