Thursday, July 21, 2016

OIG Report: 30% of Rehab Hospital Patients Experience Harm

by Paige Minemyer |
Jul 21, 2016 10:44am

Nearly 30 percent of patients who go to a rehabilitation hospital to recover after surgery experience some type of harm that can lead to prolonged stays, hospital transfers, life-sustaining interventions or death, according to a new federal government report.

The report, published Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, reviewed medical records from 417 Medicare beneficiaries discharged from rehab facilities throughout the country in 2012. The OIG found that 46 percent of the documented incidents of harm--which included bedsores, medication errors and infections--were definitely or likely preventable.

Study data has suggested medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming as many as 250,000 lives a year. However, many disagree with those figures.

David Classen, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine who developed the tool the team used to identify patient harm in the report, toldNational Public Radio that the study is just the latest that proves there is more work to be done to prevent medical errors.

“We’re fooling ourselves if we say we have made improvement,” Classen told NPR. “If the first rule of healthcare is ‘Do no harm,’ then we’re failing.”

The OIG report focused on rehabilitation centers that were not associated directly with hospitals, but the figure is in line with previous HHS studies that show about 30 percent of patients at acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities experience harm. Of the patients in the study that were harmed, about a quarter were transferred to an acute care facility for treatment, with an estimated cost of $92 million a year to Medicare.

Physicians involved in the study pointed to substandard treatment, insufficient patient monitoring and failure to provide needed treatments to patients as the key reasons harm occurred at the rehab hospitals, according to the report.

The OIG suggested in the report that a possible solution is for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to increase awareness of patient safety in rehabilitation hospitals by collaborating to create a list of possible harms that can occur and guidelines these facilities can follow to avoid them. Both agencies have agreed to do so, according to the report.

- read the report
- here’s the NPR article
Patient Safety, Quality, HHS, HHS Office of Inspector General, CMS, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Thank You Ms Minimyer and FH.

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