South Florida Hospitals Facing Medicare Fines For Errors
Federal officials are cracking down on medical errors by cutting Medicare payments to eight South Florida hospitals. According to an investigation, high numbers of patients were suffering preventable injuries such as bedsores, blood clots, falls and infections over a period of two years. Safety has become a greater concern after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which can levy penalties on hospitals that underperform on patient safety. Penalized hospitals can lose a percentage of their Medicare payments for a fiscal year if their patients acquire conditions and injuries that are preventable.
Data used in the investigation spanned a two-year period and came from over 3,200 hospitals around the U.S., 166 of which were located in Florida. Some of the hospitals fined in Florida faced a $600,000 loss in their Medicare funding for being in the bottom 25 percent for patient safety performance.
Fines Can Help Hospitals Fix Patient Safety Issues
Fortunately, the fines have made hospitals review their protocols regarding “hospital acquired conditions”, and positive changes have already been made. For example, the Jackson Health System utilized a new standard for catheter insertion to prevent urinary tract and bloodstream infections. Due to enforcing the new practice, the hospital saw a 25 percent reduction in infections.
Hospitals that are understaffed, have poorly trained workers, and too many patients can injure or even kill patients due to errors committed during treatment. More than half of the South Florida hospitals fined were “safety net” hospitals – hospitals that treat a large population of uninsured patients.
How An Attorney Can Help the Victims of Hospital Errors
An attorney can help victims of medical malpractice and hospital errors by bringing decades of experience and knowledge to help clients build a case against negligent hospitals. Shapiro Law Group has over 30 years of experience helping victims of medical malpractice, and we provide free consultations for potential clients.
Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area