In 2013, Medicare started penalizing hospitals that were giving infections to patients by not paying the hospitals for treating these infections. Recently, a group at the University of Michigan did a study that found this program was not associated with a significant decrease in hospital-acquired infections.
It turns out that hospitals were supposed to self-report to Medicare whenever they gave somebody an infection. As you can imagine, this study seems to have found that hospitals may be a bit reluctant to report something that would result in financial penalties.
In my practice as a medical malpractice lawyer, what I have found in some cases hospitals change the billing code to Medicare for infections to something else in order to hide the fact that a patient got an infection. Also, hospitals refuse to take back a patient with a hospital-acquired infection after discharge for fear of being found out and not paid for that patient’s care.
Let’s be honest. This is not a great way to make hospitals do what they need to do to make their facilities safe and germ-free. The Michigan study seems to state it may not be feasible or even practical for hospitals to address infection prevention.
As a personal injury lawyer, I say hospitals should have no choice but to take measures to stop the spread of infection. As a patient, you now have a 30% risk of getting an infection for certain procedures in a hospital. That is an outrageous number, and it is only getting worse. By 2050, it is projected that we will be in a pre-Civil War period in which it is safer not to have surgery because we have no effective infection control. This is the apocalypse everyone should be fearing. These infections are resistant to antibiotics. People are dying from infections. People are worse after going into a hospital.
In sum, the University of Michigan group, or any group, studying this problem should not just throw up their hands and say it’s too big of a problem. We need solutions for the hospital-acquired infection problem.
If you have been the victim of a hospital-acquired infection call the Law Office of Gloria Seidule for a free consultation. No fees unless we win. 772-287-1220.