Let’s start with the obvious, people go to the hospital to get better, not worse. The not so obvious, it doesn’t always work out that way. Between hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and preventable injuries unrelated to the underlying reason for admission, patient safety is a real cause for concern.
Patient safety issues are glaring in South Florida, where eight hospitals are now facing federal fines because of the high rate of preventable patient injuries sustained on their watch. It’s part of a new initiative under the Affordable Care Act, and now healthcare institutions everywhere are scrambling to improve their own reports.
A List of the Eight Miami-Area Hospitals Fined for Preventable Patient Injuries
In South Florida alone, eight hospitals were singled out for a high rate of preventable patient injuries, which have reportedly included blood clots, bedsores, falls, and infections.
In Miami-Dade County, those hospitals included:
- Baptist Hospital of Miami
- Jackson Health System
- Kendall Regional Medical Center
- North Shore Medical Center
- Palmetto General Hospital
Meanwhile, three more were fined in Broward County:
- Broward Health Coral Springs
- Broward Health Imperial Point
- Broward Health Medical Center
How the Affordable Care Act Punishes Preventable Patient Injuries
The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” includes provisions that penalize hospitals with high injury rates, using Medicare as a kind of disincentive for negligence.
Institutions that are penalized will lose one percent (1%) of the total Medicare payments they would have otherwise received during the fiscal year (currently, that’s October 2014 through September 2015). While 1% might not sound like much, it can represent a major loss for hospitals that already struggle to collect payments.
That’s why some have spoken out against the penalties, insisting they unfairly target hospitals that serve a higher proportion of Medicare patients. Conversely, supporters say those are exactly the hospitals whose patients need protecting.
Unquestionably, hospitals are now looking to enact new measures that will prevent additional penalties in the future. To the extent that those measures reduce the rate of preventable patient injury, that’s surely a good thing.
At Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, we take preventable patient injury cases very seriously. We know that hospitals provide an extremely important service, but we also know that they have a duty to do everything they can to keep their patients safe.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury, illness, or abuse because of a hospital stay, a Miami personal injury lawyer at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC can help. You may have a claim for compensation under theories of medical malpractice, premises liability, hospital negligence, or wrongful death. We can help.
Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation with a Miami personal injury lawyer today.