HHS: Medicare Patients Experience Safety Issues at Nursing Homes
In August 2011, about 22% of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to nursing homes experienced preventable injuries, according to a new report by HHS' Office of Inspector General, Modern Healthcare reports.
In addition, the report found that over half of those injured required additional or longer hospital stays and cost Medicare around $208 million. The report's authors examined records on 650 Medicare beneficiaries who were admitted to skilled-nursing facilities and remained there for 35 days or fewer. Preventable injuries that the authors monitored included:
- Infections; and
- Medication errors.
The authors noted that their study only looked at one month but said that if the rates they discovered remained similar or constant at nursing homes throughout the whole year, it would mean:
- About 60% -- or more than 19,000 individuals -- of patients had to stay at a hospital because of preventable injuries at least one time; and
- Preventable injuries and hospital stays would have cost Medicare in 2011 about $2.8 billion.
In order to improve nursing home safety, the authors recommended:
- Creating a list for staff of the potential events that could cause preventable injury;
- State regulators reviewing nursing homes and their practices; and
- Reporting of any related events by nursing homes to patient safety organizations (Rice, Modern Healthcare, 3/4).