One of Seven Medicare Patients in Hospitals Harmed by Medical Care

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Medicare beneficiaries who enter a hospital stand a 1-in-7 chance of receiving medical care that causes them harm, based on data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general.
After reviewing the cases of one million Medicare patients discharged from hospitals in 2008, the IG found 13.5% experienced an “adverse event,” defined as any harm caused by medical care. An example would be an infection caused by the use of a catheter. Forty-four percent of the adverse events were preventable. According to the report, “Preventable events were linked most commonly to medical errors, substandard care, and lack of patient monitoring and assessment.”
Adverse events help lead to about 15,000 patient deaths each month and increase the cost of the Medicare budget by at least $4.4 billion a year.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Adverse Events in Hospitals: National Incidence among Medicare Beneficiaries (Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General) (pdf)


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