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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.

How to Protect Yourself from Hospital Errors

Published on Jun 4, 2014 at 8:27 am in Medical Malpractice.

In an earlier blog, I reviewed a Consumer Reports article highlighting the continued problem of patient safety in U.S. hospitals. New data shows that up to 440,000 patients die each year after suffering a medical error in a hospital.

How can you protect yourself the next time you’re admitted to a hospital? AARP lists some tips on keeping safe in hospitals on its web site. Their recommendations include:

  • Get to know your nurses and aides – Anyone who has stayed overnight at a hospital knows that in-between the brief moments that doctors make their rounds, it’s the nurses and aides that are in charge of your care. Nurses coordinate your daily care plan and can be your ally if you communicate with them about your concerns and needs. The aides address many of your personal-care needs and can be key to helping you stay comfortable.

Patient Harm in Hospitals Third Leading Cause of Death

Published on May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Kentucky Medical MalpracticeA recent Consumer Reports article highlights the continued problem of patient safety in U.S. hospitals. The Journal of Patient Safety, a peer-reviewed medical journal, published a recent study that found that 440,000 patients die each year after suffering a medical error in a hospital.

The study was spearheaded by a scientist whose own son died at the age of 19 after cardiologists at two different hospitals made a series of mistakes. Put in alarming terms: this number of fatalities makes patient harm in hospitals the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.