Local & State
Medicare penalizes hospitals
Three hospitals in Richland and Kershaw counties, and 10 others statewide, face 1 percent reductions in their Medicare payments in 2015 because of high rates of hospital-acquired infections.
Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Richland and Kershaw Health will be hit with the penalty under the new program aimed at reducing infection rates. The cuts aren’t unexpected because preliminary calculations of infection rates among Medicare recipients came out in July.
However, the updated figures released this month ended up as good news for Columbia’s Providence Hospitals, which was on the penalty list in July but managed to reduce infection rates enough to fall off.
The rates tend to be higher at large hospitals that handle more Medicare cases. Other hospitals where payments will be reduced include MUSC, Spartanburg Regional, Novant Health Gaffney, Aiken Regional, Beaufort County, Oconee, Palmetto Health Baptist Easley, Conway, McLeod-Dillon and The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties.
Grand Strand real estate forecast
A couple of Grand Strand real estate leaders see nothing on the horizon to keep the single-family home market from the march that began in the fall of 2013.
“I really expect a continuation of the upward trend we’ve been seeing the last 12 to 18 months,” said Melodye Lane-Laveglia, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Chicora in Surfside Beach and the recently-inducted president of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors. Laura Crowther, the association’s CEO, said she expects the same, slow and steady growth.
Single-family sales were up 7.5 percent through November, compared to a year earlier, according to SiteTech Systems.
Nation & World
Fiat Chrysler recalling trucks
Fiat Chrysler is recalling about 67,000 model year 2006 and 2007 pickups because of a problem that could allow the trucks to be started without the clutch being depressed. Chrysler said one death is associated with the problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened an investigation into the trucks in May after receiving a report of a child starting a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup without using the clutch.
The company said Monday that a wire in the clutch ignition interlock switch could break in trucks with manual transmissions. The company is recalling Dodge Dakota, Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 and Mitsubishi Raider pickups that were made between July 2005 and June 2006. Nearly 55,000 of them are in the U.S.