Disturbing rise of Hospital Never Events
Did you know that far too many hospitals have dangerous events that compromise the health and safety of patients? Hospital Never Events are all to common in the healthcare community. Some of these events will lead to other medical conditions. They require followup treatment and care that causes both physical and financial suffering. The most serious of these cases are classified as “never events”.
Preventable Errors cause pain and suffering
In any hospital visit you run the risk of a doctor or other staff making a mistake. However small, that mistake compromises your health or even your life. They are classified as errors in the medical care process that are avoidable and clearly identifiable. The term Never Event was coined in response to a list of egregious medical errors that simply should never happen. While the majority of never events are supposed to be extremely rare, the number continues to escalate.
Hospital Never events include some of the following:
- A mismatched blood transfusion
- A foreign body part left inside
- A complication after surgery
- A pressure ulcer acquired in the hospital
- A serious medication error
- Surgery on the wrong body part
- Preventable deaths after an operation
The patient ultimately pays the price for Hospital Never Events
It is difficult to determine the exact number of never events that occur annually. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, Medical Errors should rank Third as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States. According to Johns Hopkins, at least 250,000 deaths are a result of medical errors each year. In an open letter to the CDC last year, Dr. Thomas Frieden further urges that the methods used to collect data concerning Medical Errors be updated. According to Dr. Frieden, studies that analyzed 2013 patient records calculated the loss at 251,454.00.
Who bares the cost of Hospital Never Events?
Nearly a decade ago it was reported that Medicare would stop paying the for treatment resulting from avoidable errors. It was noted that Urinary Tract Infections in connection with Catheters are preventable. The cost for UTI’s alone were upwards of $451 million annually. A number Medicare no longer wanted to pay citing that the infection was preventable. Medicare stated that the hospitals associated with such errors as negligent. Medicare’s policy barred Hospitals from charging patients for any additional treatments as a result of their errors. How many hospitals complied? Because of the vast under-reporting, that number is hard to gauge.
Private Insurers don’t want to pay the price
Private insurers in many states have also adopted similar policies. CMS has not paid for any costs linked to wrong site surgeries since February of 2009. Never events are being reported in order to increase the quality of care and accountability. The original never events list was disseminated in 2002. Since then, 11 states have already mandated that hospitals are responsible for reporting them when they occur. Another 16 states require reporting of serious adverse events. They are also required to fix systematic problems associated with processes that could have caused the never event.
Hospital Never Events require the most experienced professional help available
Have you or someone you know has already suffered the consequences of a never event? Consulting with an experienced attorney is paramount. You should never have to be a victim of an event like this, but taking action is the best way to move forward. Feel free to call our office and discuss your concerns with a team member. (214)580-2525