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Medicare payments to be cut to hospitals with high infection rates

Residents in Pennsylvania know that they must be their own advocates for good healthcare in today’s world. Despite many respected, talented and honest medical professionals there are still a great many instances of medical malpractice. Some of these can be surgical errors and some can even be deliberate acts on the part of unethical professionals. All forms of medical errors together account for more deaths nationally than any cause other than cancer or heart disease.

Surgical errors take many forms and may include a piece of surgical equipment left inside a patient, a wrong-site surgery, the improper use of medical equipment or more. Many such acts can cause serious infections to develop in patients. Medicare payments to hospitals with high rates of infections or other avoidable patient injuries will be reduced starting this fall. This payment reduction is a move to crack down on these types of medical errors and improve patient safety.

A total of 761 hospitals around the country have been identified as potential recipients of the Medicare paycut. The program will work by cutting one percent from all Medicare payments to designated hospitals for a period of one year. The current estimated cost to these facilities is over $330 million. According to government sources, one in eight hospital patients developed preventable complications in 2012. New bacteria make it hard to keep reducing that number.

Sometimes patients are not sure if a medical error has actually taken place or not. When there is any question about these situations, it can be helpful to talk with a malpractice lawyer. Learning the laws is one way to get clarity on matters.

Source: Southern California Public Radio, “10 Calif. Hospitals among those likely to pay big fines for infections, avoidable injuries,” Jordan Rau, June 23, 2014

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