The following is an excerpt from MedPage Today.
Medicare patients continue to experience harm during hospital stays, even after a decade of intensive efforts to decrease provider-caused adverse events, according to a report from the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Among the roughly 1 million Medicare patients who were discharged from hospitals in October 2018, a total of 258,323 experienced an adverse or temporary harm event during their stay.
And 12% experienced events that led to longer stays, lifesaving interventions, permanent harm, or death. "This projects to 121,089 Medicare patients having experienced at least one adverse event during the 1-month study period," the report stated.
Of these adverse events, 45% were said to have been preventable. According to the report, such events were linked to substandard or inadequate care -- for example, using more aggressive pain management regimens after surgery than necessary, or unnecessary delays in scheduling surgeries.
In one of many case studies and patient stories included in the report, a patient required surgery to remove dead tissue from the small intestine. "However, providers unnecessarily delayed surgery for 5 days while the patient continued to deteriorate. This delay led to a cascade of harms that included worsening of the small intestine, contamination of the abdomen with pus, septic shock with an associated kidney injury, and delirium," the report noted.
Ten percent of adverse events contributed to patient deaths, translating to 1.4%, or 14,800 patients, during the 1-month study period.
Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group, which routinely grades hospitals on various safety measures, called the report's findings "outrageous." (Continued)
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