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Fewer Patients Die Due to Medical Errors after Obamacare

Written by Berkowitz

Connecticut's Medical Error Attorneys - Berkowitz and Hanna LLCAccording to a recent article published by the Huffington Post, hospitals have cut down on deadly medical errors and have saved an estimated 87,000 lives since 2010 – all because of the implementation of Obamacare. More officially known as the Affordable Care Act, government officials have stated that the act has played a significant role in the number of errors reduced and they state that the decline could possibly continue.

What the Report Says

The report was initially released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2010, the agency has been diligently tracking frequent and common medical errors, including everything from wrong medications to a doctor creating a blood borne infection due to improper sanitization.

The agency announced their latest findings on all hospital acquired conditions based on data they finalized in 2014. For every 1,000 patients admitted and then discharged from the hospital, the agency identified about 121 that developed conditions from their hospital stay. The rate did not change last year, but they did state that it is down by 17 percent since 2010; back then it was 145 patients for every 1,000 patients admitted and discharged in United States hospitals.

Based on this research, the decline itself came out to about 87,000 patient lives that were saved. But, it’s not just the number of lives; it is also the money saved on these errors. According to the report, the 87,000 lives accounts for approximately $19.8 billion that wasn’t spent in extra medical care due to errors.

How the Affordable Care Act Plays a Role

The Affordable Care Act’s major goal was to reduce the number of poor quality of care incidents in the United States and reward hospitals for better practices. For example, Medicare pays less to hospitals that have higher rates of hospital acquired infections, injuries and readmissions. Therefore, if patients return to a facility for treatment shortly after discharge, Medicare can reduce how much they reimburse that hospital for their care.

This is because there were a series of penalties assessed along with the Affordable Care Act in 2010. These penalties significantly impacted hospital revenues within three years’ time. In conjunction with the Partnership for Patients, the government also provides extra funding to hospitals that agree to better monitor patient safety and implement schemes for improving their patients’ quality of care.

Errors Still Occur

While the error rates are down and worth celebrating, if the trend continues, the numbers will be lower, but not as low as they should or could be. HHS officials have stated that they want to see further decline in these numbers and ensure hospitals are meeting their obligations for better preventative care.

There is no way to predict the future, but if you have been injured due to negligence in the hospital or by a physician overseeing your care, you may be entitled to compensation. Despite the decline in errors, there are still hundreds of errors occurring each year in the United States – and a large majority of those errors are preventable. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation regarding your hospital infection, injury or error. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.