The third year of Medicare penalties has brought bad news for a total of 769 hospitals across the nation with high rates of patient injuries, as reported by Healthcare Finance. What’s more, this is the first year in which the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs played a factor in determining penalties, as the overuse of antibiotics has led various bacteria to develop this resistance.
Starting in October, each penalized hospital will lose 1% of its Medicare payments for an entire year. For large hospitals, this may amount to more than $1 million each; about $430 million will be collectively lost by all 769 hospitals. Due to these cuts, it is expected that patient stays, medical care for low-income individuals, and training for medical residents will be reduced.
Among the hospitals that have been penalized this year were several area hospitals, including Decatur Memorial Hospital, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, and Carle Foundation Hospital, among others. To see if your hospital was among those penalized, search the Kaiser Family Foundation database here.
According to Healthcare Finance, there has been some controversy over this year’s Medicare penalizations, as some medical professionals claimed that the system penalized them for “their vigilance in detecting infections, even ones that [did] not cause any symptoms in patients.” Nevertheless, data has shown that patients at these hospitals continued to suffer from preventable health problems.
For instance, Healthcare Finance cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimates that no less than 2 million individuals are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and about 23,000 people are killed by these infections on an annual basis. Further CDC estimates show that about a quarter of a million of these infections occur in hospitals, where between 20% and 50% of all antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary or inappropriate.
While this issue has become a topic of national debate, at The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm, we believe it is of paramount importance to remember that the patients who are negatively affected each year by medical malpractice — including the wrongful prescription of antibiotics — are real people with real lives. As such, we are committed to helping them obtain justice after they have been harmed by negligent hospitals and health care providers.
If you have been injured while under the care of a hospital or medical professional, we can discuss your legal options in a free consultation. Call (217) 394-5885 to speak with our award-winning attorneys in Charleston, Illinois.