What are hospital-acquired conditions (HACs)?

Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) are patient complications that develop during an inpatient stay. Some of the most common HACs are healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) like C. diff and MRSA, but the designation also covers conditions like “foreign object retained after surgery,” air embolisms, falls, deep vein thrombosis, and more.

Why are hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) important in healthcare?

In 2016, HACs contributed to more than 3,000 patient deaths that resulted in more than $2 billion in excess medical spending. The same year, patients who contracted an HAC reported hospital stays 8 days longer than patients who did not contract an HAC, and patient mortality risk increased by more than 72 percent.

CMS launched the HAC Reduction Program in 2015 to reduce preventable complications by penalizing the lowest-performing hospitals with a 1 percent payment reduction.