Recently, Kaiser Health News reported that 800 hospitals in the U.S. will lose one percent of their Medicare reimbursements for the fiscal year under the Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Program. This marks the largest number of hospitals being penalized since the program launched five years ago. The 800 hospitals are losing funding due to their high rates of patient infection and injury acquired while under care.
When someone is admitted to the hospital, they expect to get better. Instead, nearly 100,000 people in the United States are dying each year because of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), which is more than breast and prostate cancer fatalities combined.
Those who acquire HAIs but survive are forced to stay in the hospital for significantly longer than those who do not receive an infection, racking up medical bills that likely could have been avoided.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are four common types of HACs:
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI): This is a type of infection that can occur in any part of the urinary system. The biggest risk factor for a CAUTI is using a catheter for too long. Doctors should remove them as soon as they are no longer needed to minimize this risk.
Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI): CLABSI is a serious infection that occurs when germs enter the bloodstream through a central line, which is a tube that doctors place near large veins to give medications or fluids or collect blood for testing.
Surgical site infection (SSI): An SSI is an infection that occurs after a surgical procedure at the part of the body where the surgery took place.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP): VAP is lung infection that develops in individuals while they are on ventilators to help them breathe.
Many HAIs are a result of a doctor failing to follow proper medical procedures. Making errors during surgery, using poor hand hygiene, using materials that are not sterile, improper insertion of a catheter or central line, and failure to remove devices in a timely manner are just some of the ways medical providers can cause HAIs.
No one should be forced to face a slow recovery, extended hospital stay, or expensive medical bills because of a doctor’s medical malpractice. If you or a loved one developed a healthcare-acquired infection, consider reaching out to an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.
Both an Emory School of Law graduate and MBA graduate of Goizueta Business School at Emory, Chris Nace focuses his practice on areas of medical malpractice, drug and product liability, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination and other negligence and personal injury matters.