For the first time ever, the general public has access to new patient safety information released by Medicare. Chicago Breaking News reports that the hospital industry strongly objected to the public release of the data which identified rates of errors pulled from review of elderly and disabled patient hospital bills.
The release comes at a time when federal regulators remain committed to opening up the safety process and providing open information to the public. In this way, regulators hope that the source of the problems-from poor doctor communication to inadequate follow ups-will be rooted out and fixed. Dr. Donald Berwick, the head of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services explained that “any potentially preventable complication of care is unacceptable.”
The data includes a laundry list of medical errors and problems including objects left after surgery, infections, bloodstream issues, falls, bed sores, and similar complications. Readers will notice that the list includes many of the issues that arise in Illinois nursing home lawsuits. Overall, around 13.5% of Medicare patients in this study experience a mistake-labeled as an “adverse event”-ultimately costing taxpayers $4.4 billion a year. That figure doesn’t include non elderly and disabled patients.
All the Chicago hospitals included in the data were found to have problems of one kind. One issue that seems particularly problematic at most facilities across the area were hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. The University of Chicago Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, and the University of Chicago Medical Center all reported higher than average rates of those infections.
Our Chicago elder law lawyers at Levin & Perconti are strong advocates of openness and honesty in the medical and long-term care process. We remain unconvinced that safety data must remain hidden and skewed. Our work with Chicago injury victims has made clear the need for honest admission of mistakes and clear care plans in place to improve upon past conduct. The first step in that process is accurate tracking and dissemination of mistakes.
See Our Related Blog Posts: