20 November 2010

Hospital Care Deadly for Some

A new government study makes my blood boil and should raise concern for everyone. I may sound a little harsh, but having seen the results of some of the carelessness recently, I was not surprised. This study and another version by the Department of Health and Human Services need attention and broad public attention.

I am not trying to single out one medical profession as it appears that all medical professions are at fault if they work in and around hospitals. I would like to know how other patients fare, but I can believe that non-Medicare patients could be better off. According to the study, hospital care-related problems account for about 15,000 deaths per month.

One in seven Medicare patients receives injuries or other harm from hospital care. This includes infections, bed sores, and excessive bleeding from blood-thinning drugs. This works out to be 13.4 percent of one million Medicare patients. Another 13.4 percent suffer temporary harm which is detected in time and corrected and the patients receive no lasting harm from these events.

With over a quarter of our Medicare patients receiving poor care in our hospitals, is it any wonder that our elderly do not want to be admitted into the hospitals. Patient safety is not getting the attention it deserves and this makes me wonder what happens to those on Medicaid and those younger patients with insurance. The studies make no accusations, but I have to raise the question about euthanasia being practiced by some in our medical system.

The CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has been called on to hold hospitals accountable for adoption of evidence-based practice guidelines. This is to be enforced through the survey and certification procedures that hospitals must go through to be eligible for Medicare Reimbursement.

The Office of the Inspector General also recommended a greater effort by CMS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to pinpoint the incidence of adverse events, at the individual hospitals and across the healthcare system. This would include doctor's offices, clinics, and nursing homes.

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