The U.S. government has decided to cut payments to 769 medical facilities with concerning rates of patient injuries. Also, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become a major reason for concern in these hospitals. It is the 3rd year in a row when Medicare penalties raise awareness about the issues of the U.S. medical environment.
In recent years, thousands of patients were reported suffering from preventable complications, including blood clots, bed sores, and a wide range of infections. The investigators have also accounted for the rates of two superbugs. As such, the federal officials have decided that the hospitals will lose one percent of their Medicare payments for twelve months.
Based on the estimates from the Association of American Medical Colleges, these medical facilities will lose around $430 million, with 18% more than the payments they lost in 2015.
It is worth mentioning that this penalty affects not just patient stays, but it will also reduce the payments hospitals receive for taking care of low-income patients, and for teaching medical residents. Around 40% of the medical facilities penalized in 2016 managed to escape punishment in the first 24 months of the new program.
Fortunately, a 21 percent decline in the hospital-acquired conditions and patient injuries was recorded from 2010 to 2015, based on the latest report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The most significant reduction was for negative reactions to some medicines, post-surgical blood clots, and catheter infections. Nevertheless, these conditions remain a public health concern.
According to the AHRQ statistics, there were around 3.8 million patient injuries in 2015. By applying this estimate to the number of patients, it means that roughly 115 injuries occurred during every one thousand hospital stays.
Every year, minimum two million Americans become infected with drug-resistant bacteria, out of which 250,000 cases occur in medical facilities. The CDC officials underline that about 23,000 people die due to these infections.
Previous studies have revealed that between twenty and fifty percent of all drugs prescribed in U.S. hospitals are at least inappropriate if not needed. Because these antibiotics are widely spread across the country, many bacteria have become increasingly resistant. Therefore, besides the high rate of patient injuries, hundreds of medical facilities must reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed to patients.