Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teaching Hospitals Have Higher Risk of Complications

According to Medicare’s first public evaluation of hospitals’ records on patient safety, patients are at a heightened risk for preventable conditions when going to teaching hospitals in America.  

The Medicare program found that Washington Hospital Center, Georgetown University Hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic were some of the institutions having more complications than average, according to an article from The Washington Post.  

The Medicare reimbursement to the hospitals are based on a number of things, some including readmission rates, how patients rate their stays, mortality rates, and how closely hospitals are following guidelines for patient care.  

Medicare covers 47 million seniors and disabled people. The administration believes that adding these financial incentives will encourage hospitals to improve their treatments.  

According to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the data, teaching hospitals are nearly 10 times more likely than other hospitals to have higher complication rates. The complications that Medicare looks at include blood clots after surgery, bedsores, punctured lungs, catheter and bloodstream infections, and accidental cuts and tears. By looking at these, Medicare calculates each hospital’s rate of complications.  

Consumers are now able to visit the Hospital Compare Web site where Medicare has published its findings.  

Out of the 3,330 hospitals that were rated, 190 were identified as having very high levels; 82 were major teaching hospitals.  

Snyder and Wenner, P.C. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hospital Compare Tool

In this video Nancy Foster, Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Policy at the American Hospital Association, discusses CMS' Hospital Compare website and how it can be used in conjunction with other tools to improve patient safety and care. She also discusses the vital role of the Federal Government in helping to improve care, and how a team centered approach is the best way to ensure patient safety.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five Steps to Safer Health Care

Be sure to remember these five important steps when it comes to your safety in health care environments.
1. Ask questions whenever you have doubts, concerns, or if you need something clarified.
  • Always make sure you understand the answers.
  • Choose a doctor who you feel completely comfortable talking with.
  • To make sure you understand everything being said and presented to you, take a family member or friend with you to help out.
2. Keep and bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
  • Give both your doctor and pharmacist a list of medications you are currently taking, including non-prescription drugs.
  • Tell them about any drug allergies you have.
  • Always make sure the new medication you receive is what the doctor prescribed.
  • Always read the warning labels on your prescription pills.
  • Ask about side effects and what to avoid eating, drinking, or doing while on it.
3. Get the results of your test or procedure.
  • Ask when you should expect getting the results.
  • Don't assume that the results are fine if you don't get word from your doctor; call and ask.
4. Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for you.
  • Ask which hospital is better-suited for the care of your condition.
5. Make sure you understand what will happen if and when you need surgery.
  • Ask your doctor, "Who will manage my care when I'm at the hospital?"
  • Ask your surgeon: What exactly will be happening? How long will it take? What will happen after surgery? What will recovery be like?
  • Be sure to tell your surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist if you have any allergic reactions to any types of medicines or pain medications.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hip Replacement Patients, Increased Risk of Cancer

After some patients have received "metal-on-metal" hip replacements, the cells in their bladders have oddly changed. Now, early findings from a study suggest that the risk of cancer and genetic damage could increase from the devices.

When friction between the metal ball and cup in the replacement causes tiny metal filings to break off, problems occur. The tiny fragments can seep into patients blood and cause inflammation, which can destroy bone and muscle.

The risk of cancer can increase if there are metal traces in the blood. It can slowly poison major organs, such as the kidneys and bladder.

The British study on 72 patients revealed that bladders of 17 people received genetic damage. Three of those developed cancer.

It is advised that those with the "metal-on-metal" devices should undergo scans and blood tests if their doctors find symptoms that could account for metal leakage.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Hospital Lapses

States rely on hospitals to report incidents that happen. According to an article from the New Haven Register, however, patient safety advocates are saying that hospitals aren't reporting all of them.

Just in Connecticut alone, surgeons operated on a wrong patient twice, and on the wrong body part 26 times since 2004.

"In the last five years, the number of reported surgical errors and injuries caused by improper care has increased, according to a report by the Connecticut Health I-Team published by the Register."

Injuries from falls, as well as serious pressure sores among bed-ridden patients are recurring problems at Connecticut hospitals.

There is always room for improvement, and with greater public awareness on the issues at hand, the expectation is that hospitals will begin to improve.

At Snyder & Wenner we strive to keep the community safe when hospital care is involved. We are patient safety advocates who represent patients who have been harmed by hospital error. If you know someone who has been seriously harmed or injured from a hospital error, please contact us. The Snyder & Wenner website can be assessed by clicking the "Patient Safety Advocates" tab above.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Mother's Loss Due to Hospital's Error

Real-time monitoring would have saved a mother's child.

Leah, an 11-year-old, went into a hospital as a healthy girl. She was scheduled to have elective surgery, which required the opening of her chest. Leah received an epidural anesthesia to monitor the pain.

Despite being on pain medication, Leah complained of intense pain and started to become less alert of what was going on around her after the surgery. The medical staff seemed disinterested in the concern and stress that Leah's mother was going through. They didn't examine Leah, and she wasn't hooked up to a monitor.

The night that Leah was staying in the hospital, she was found dead by her mother around 3 in the morning.

It was discovered that the epidural that the child received was wrongly placed, and instead was inserted into her left lung.

It has been 10 years since Leah died. Leah's mother wants to "make sure no other mother has to live with the pain I endure, when the solution is within reach and so easy to implement."

Leah's mother, Lenore, is an active member of Mothers Against Medical Errors.

Be sure to check out Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS), which is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS is composed of physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations.

Hospital Infection Rates Released by Government

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the public can now have access to some information about hospital safety.

For Washington D.C. and all states except Wyoming, blood-stream infection rates in intensive care unites for 1,146 hospitals were released by the agency. The release of the rates cover a three-month span from January-March of 2011. More data is supposed to be added later this year.

Despite the rates, one third of the hospitals stated that there were no infections during the reporting period.

The report covers infections caused by catheters and central lines put into a patient's body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27,000 to 65,000 patients develop an infection each year. About 25 percent of those infections turn fatal.

The new reporting requirements, however, only apply to those hospitals that participate in the "pay-for-reporting" program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Nurse claims she was fired for giving patient advice

Nurse claims she was fired for giving patient advice: Amanda Trujillo says she was fired from her nursing job at Banner's Del Webb hospital in Sun City West for advising a patient of possible complications on eve of her surgery.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Study on How Hospital Safety Needs Improvement

Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture: 2012 User Comparative Database Report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Results are in from 1,128 U.S. hospitals and 567,703 staff members.

According to the report, most staff members are saying that good communication between workers and patients could improve, in regards to transferring patients.

The full report contains data for hospital characteristics, such as teaching status, bed size, work positions, and interaction with patients. The report enables hospitals to compare themselves to other hospitals.

The survey was designed to see the opinions of hospital staff based on event reporting, safety issues and medical errors.

Overall, the opinions from most staff make it known that patient safety could always be improved.