Individuals have been calling for genuine healthcare reform for countless
years. Though the Affordable Care Act includes many highly covered issues,
such as insurance coverage, it also addresses the much needed healthcare reform.
Recently, Medicare took action to enact this reform by
cutting payments to 721 hospitals across the nation. There were many prominent hospitals included in this list, including
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic,
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is located in Philadelphia, and
Geisinger Medical Center, which is in Danville.
Why where these hospitals penalized? They are in the top 25% of hospitals
whose patients acquire additional conditions while being treated, such
as infections and injuries. Essentially, they are being punished for their
frequently flagrant medical errors. Though Medicare only instigated a
1% fee reduction, it will cost these hospitals a total of $373 million.
Medicare has also been denying pay to hospitals that do not treat patients
adequately or release them too early since 2012. This is demonstrated
by their refusal to provide payment for any patients that return to hospitals
for conditions like heart attacks, pneumonia, or heart failure after previously
being discharged within 30 days. The goal is to enforce punitive damages
while encouraging an overall shift in motivations for hospitals.
Medical Errors & Victims' Rights
When many people hear
medical malpractice, they think of frivolous lawsuits by those frustrated with the way their
doctor treated them. However, did you know that
at least 210,000 preventable deaths occur every year in U.S. hospitals? These deaths are caused by negligent errors, and some estimate that the
actual count could be much higher, reaching up to 400,000 deaths.
Medical malpractice is no issue to take lightly. While we have had many
improvements in technology, infrastructure, and many other areas as a
country, our healthcare industry has struggled. Many speculate that some
hospitals operate on the idea of making more money by keeping patients
sick and providing inadequate follow-up care. Such extreme medical negligence
is certainly not true of every physician or hospital, but there is no
denying that the issue is prevalent.
With many organizations now pushing for meaningful healthcare reform, we
can only hope that further action is taken to reduce the incidents of
medical malpractice. However, if you believe you have been a victim of
blatant hospital negligence, do not hesitate to
contact Shrager, Spivey & Sachs. We are ready to hold responsible parties accountable.