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Kentucky Injury Lawyers

Medicare Stops Reporting Some Hospital Errors

Published on Sep 8, 2014 at 8:20 am in Medical Malpractice.

In a move that seems confusing to say the least, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stopped publicly reporting when hospitals leave foreign objects in patients, along with other serious mistakes.

These errors are part of a list of what are called “Hospital-Acquired Conditions” (HACs) which are considered preventable. According to CMS, Hospital-Acquired Conditions are “conditions that patients did not have when they were admitted to the hospital, but which developed during the hospital stay. “

The government-operated Hospital Compare website lists how often many HACs occurred at acute care hospitals, where patients stay up to 25 days recovering from serious injuries or illnesses. USA Today has reported that last summer, CMS removed the data on leaving foreign objects and seven other HACs from the Hospital Compare website. CMS did leave the data on another site, in a format available to those who knew what the reporting meant. Then, as of August of this year, the data on those eight HACs is no longer available anywhere. According to USA Today, “Now researchers have to calculate their own rates using claims data.”

Hospital Charges Increasing Higher than Inflation Rate

Published on Aug 21, 2014 at 8:51 am in Medical Malpractice.

For the second year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released data showing what hospitals charge Medicare for their services. The numbers reveal important information for consumers, and show that hospital charges are increasing – some much faster than the rate of inflation.

The list of charges, called the “Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data,” is produced from the CMS Office of Information Products & Data Analytics (OIPDA). It is drawn from 2012 data from nearly 3,400 hospitals that take payment for inpatient acute care services under the Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS). Together, these hospitals comprise 92% of all hospital inpatient discharges.

Disparity in Prices

Hospitals have long resisted publication of their billing rates – having this information made public allows consumers – and the government — now to compare and see that sometimes hospital charges have little to do with quality of care. Although Medicare only pays a fixed amount per procedure, regardless of what a hospital charges, knowing a hospital’s actual billing rate is very illuminating.

Kentucky Hospitals Likely Facing Medicare Penalties

Published on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:24 am in Medical Malpractice.

Hospital Malpractice AttorneysStarting this fall, the Medicare program will start penalizing hospitals that have high rates of infections and preventable injuries. As part of the Affordable Care Act, all eligible hospitals will be ranked and those falling in the bottom 25%, Medicare billings will only be paid at 99% — resulting in a 1% penalty for the fiscal year. Hospitals will be reassessed annually, and the criteria are likely to expand.

Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program

Called the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, the penalties are expected to add up to $330 million over a year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a preliminary assessment that placed 761 hospitals in the lowest-quartile penalty zone.

The scores were based on the rates of infections in patients with catheters in major veins and bladders. Also included were rates of eight patient injuries, such as blood clots, bed sores, and accidental falls.

J&J Suspends use of Blading Procedure in Laparoscopic Surgeries

Published on Jun 30, 2014 at 8:55 am in Medical Malpractice.

Medical Malpractice AttorneyIn late April, Johnson & Johnson announced it was suspending sales of its morcellator device used for laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies. This action came soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication about the device used to remove uterine fibroids. Some are already arguing that J&J should go further and recall the product.

The J&J products being suspended are all sold by its Ethicon division. They are:

  • Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator,
  • Morcellex Sigma Tissue Morcellator System, and the
  • Gynecare X-Tract Tissue Morcellator

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying that it was suspending sales of these devices “while the role of morcellation for patients with symptomatic fibroid disease is redefined by the FDA and the medical community.”

Uterine Fibroid Procedure may Increase Risk of Cancer

Published on Jun 26, 2014 at 8:51 am in Medical Malpractice.

In mid-April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety warning about the use of certain types of laporoscopic techniques. The devices – called morcellators – use small blades to break apart tissue so it can be removed through small incisions.

This procedure has been widely used to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) or to remove uterine fibroids (myomectomy). Laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies have become popular because they are less invasive and offer shorter post-operative recovery time; they also pose a lower risk of infection compared to abdominal hysterectomy and myomectomy.

The problem with the procedure is that if the tissue being removed turns out to be cancerous, the blading process can spread that tissue around the body. Spreading the tissue can worsen the cancer, thus downgrade the patient’s prognosis for recovery from the cancer. Depositing the tissue in other areas of the body can also lead to other painful adverse events.