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Antibiotic-resistant germs focus of hospital injury penalties

Antibiotic-resistant germs are the focus of the latest hospital injury penalties from the federal government.

These new penalties come in the third year of Medicare penalties being assessed to hospitals across the country. The penalties have been assessed to hospitals for patients who have suffered possibly avoidable issues that include falls, bed sores, infections and blood clots.

Federal officials identified the hospitals this week that will be penalized for these issues. Those hospitals will stand to lose 1 percent of all their Medicare payments for the course of one year. The year of penalties began this past October.

The federal government did not release the dollar amount of the penalties assessed, but most hospitals will stand to lose more than $1 million. All told, penalties will exceed $430 million, which will be 18 percent more than hospitals lost last year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Some 40 percent of hospitals being penalized this year were not penalized during the first two years of the program. The 40 percent accounts for 306 hospitals nationwide.

One of the hospitals out of 347 penalized last year that are not being penalized this year include the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The reason for this is that the hospital has performed better than others.

During the lifetime of the program, 241 hospitals nationwide have been penalized all three years.

"The HAC penalty payment program is regarded as rather arbitrary, so other than people getting upset when they incur a penalty, it is not in and of itself changing behavior," the American Hospital Association said in a statement.

According to the AHRQ, there were 3.8 million hospital injuries last year. Two million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A quarter of a million of these cases occur in hospitals.

An estimated 23,000 people die from these infections, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospital stays can turn into lengthy visits if infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. An experienced defective medical devices attorney in Nashville, Tennessee, can inform you of your rights should you suffer from a worsened medical condition.

Source: Daily Inter Lake, "Latest Hospital Injury Penalties Include Crackdown On Antibiotic Resistant Germs," Jordan Rau, Dec. 21, 2016

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