Medicare Cuts Payments To Hospitals With High Infection Injuries

The federal government understands how important it is that hospital patients don’t leave with more problems than they had going in – and are cutting funding to hospitals that don’t share the same belief. 721 different hospitals around the nation with high risk of infection and high rates of patient injury have gotten their funding reduced because of their medical malpractice. It’s not just small hospitals that are facing reductions in funding either, some of the most renowned institutions in the nation such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and many others.

Medicare Cuts Payments To Hospitals With High Infection Injuries

Gordon & Doner believes that the federal government searches for conditions such as infection from bed sores, blood clots, catheters, and other complications that can be avoided with proper care. Overall, hospitals throughout the United State are being penalized an estimated $373 million. Academic medical centers will have it worse, where around half will be punished for not teaching the proper ways to care for patients. This happens because physicians understand the ways to reduce medical errors, but they’re not widely implemented.

For example, some treatments that physicians can implement include having better hand hygiene, following checklists during surgeries, and entering orders into the computer instead of scrawling them on paper. These techniques have massive benefits but are not frequently used. This increases the amount of avoidable injuries and infections to patients and costs the government even more health insurance money. Overall the hospital industry overall is reducing the amount of avoidable errors that occur, but the current numbers are just a start. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. Currently for every eight people that go into a hospital, one comes out with a preventable issue as result of being admitted.

University Medical Center Penalized For Infections

The University of Virginia Medical Center is taking a huge penalty of $2 million for preventable hospital-acquired infections over the years of 2012 to 2014. 721 different hospitals in the nation are also taking the same penalty of 1 percent of each claim filed for Medicare reimbursement over that period of time. This comes at a time where the government is cracking down on preventable hospital-acquired infections and attempted to help doctors improve their practices in order to reduce the amount of catheter infections, bed sores, blood clots, and other complications.

3,300 facilities around the nation were rated on a scale of risk from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest amount of risk to develop a preventable hospital-acquired infection or injury. The UVa Medical Center got a 7 out of 10, securing it’s place as one of the worst performers eligible for this year of funding. Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center also performed similarly, making it the second Virginia hospital to be on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act list for 2015.

University Medical Center Penalized For Infections

UVa’s executive vice president for Health Affairs believes that the situation has already improved, since the list is of hospital ratings from 2012 to 2014. That’s when the government looked at results of infections as well as serious treatable injuries, which were both listed as being higher than the national rate. Palm Beach medical malpractice lawyers think that it is possible for hospitals to improve their service, but doctors have to be aware of best practices and make sure that everyone is implementing all of the necessary changes to keep patients safe.

Overall there has to be a way to keep specific doctors and medical professionals accountable for their actions. Personal matters, including employee performance should be reviewed whenever a patient becomes sick or injured because of the treatment that they receive. As long as they plan, process, and ensure that the personnel work correctly, they should be able to minimize the number of malpractice cases.

Hospital ER Changes Reduce Mistakes

The emergency room is where you should often feel safest; however data shows that it’s one of the places in a hospital responsible for a majority of malpractice lawsuits. Hospital emergency rooms are often overcrowded and very fast-paced. When a patient needs medication, he or she often needs it within minutes, and so doctors don’t always have the time to check medical history to ensure that there won’t be a side-effect or clash with other medications that the patient takes. In the event that the patient is new to the hospital that he or she is attending, there may be little to no information about the patient’s medical history, making it risky to treat the patient effectively.

Hospital ER Changes Reduce Mistakes

Pilot programs in hospitals across the United States are working to implement new changes in emergency rooms that will allow doctors and nurses to work smarter in order to reduce the mistakes made on the job. Some of the changes that Gordon and Doner are aware of include a new triage system, allowing at-risk patients to receive attention from medical professionals when they arrive, instead of making the most at-risk patients wait around for help. Other significant changes include making sure that the dialogue between all doctors and nurses is improved through huddles and implementing a time-out system that prevents patients with unresolved problems from discharging themselves and leaving the ER. This will help stop the spread of disease and insure that everyone gets the treatment they need, when they need it.

So how expensive is our current emergency room system? The way it stands now, malpractice suits from ER incidents is over $1 billion. Nearly all of the cases of malpractice arise because doctors haven’t been supplied with all of the information needed to make an informed decision, so problems are missed or misdiagnosed. ERs are also being visited more than ever, with no decrease of patients likely within the next year.