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For five years, the Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Program has aimed to cut down on hospital-acquired injuries and infections by reducing Medicare reimbursements to facilities who rank in the bottom fourth of hospitals with patients who develop these conditions. Hospitals who scored in the bottom quarter will have their Medicare reimbursements slashed by 1% for all patient discharges from October 2018-September 2019.

Penalized Hospitals Have Highest Number of Avoidable Infections & Injuries
The information used to evaluate and penalize hospitals is obtained from a federal organization, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Each year, the group assesses the number of hospital patients who suffer an avoidable injury or infection while hospitalized.

The HAC Reduction Program evaluates hospitals using two separate domains. The first is comprised of 10 hospital-acquired conditions, while the second domain is specifically related to hospital-acquired infections. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the specific conditions and infections are as follows:

Domain 1 (conditions):

  • Pressure Ulcer rate (also known as bedsores)
  • Iatrogenic Pneumothorax Rate (lung injury obtained from a medical mistake)
  • In-Hospital Fall With Hip Fracture Rate
  • Perioperative Hemorrhage or Hematoma Rate
  • Postoperative Acute Kidney Injury Rate
  • Postoperative Respiratory Failure Rate
  • Perioperative Pulmonary Embolism (PE) or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Rate
  • Postoperative Sepsis Rate
  • Postoperative Wound Dehiscence (split) Rate
  • Unrecognized Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture/Laceration Rate

Domain 2 (infections):

  • Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)
  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)
  • Surgical Site Infection (SSI) – colon and hysterectomy
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia
  • Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI)

Nearly 20% of Illinois Hospitals Rank in Bottom Quarter
This year, 126 Illinois hospitals were evaluated. Hospitals that are exempt are Veterans Hospitals, Freestanding Pediatric Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals, and those deemed “Critical Access” hospitals, or those without any competition nearby.

Out of these 126 Illinois hospitals, twenty one facilities will see their October 2018-September 2019 Medicare reimbursements cut by 1%.

Eleven of these hospitals also placed in the bottom fourth of hospitals last year. The hospital and the city in which the hospital is located are listed below. Hospitals also penalized last year are marked with a * symbol.

Hospital Name City
Franciscan Health Olympia & Chicago Heights* Olympia Fields
Genesis Health System Silvis
Iroquois Memorial Hospital* Watseka
Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital* Dixon
Little Company Of Mary Hospital* Evergreen Park
Louis A Weiss Memorial Hospital* Chicago
Mercy Hospital And Medical Center* Chicago
Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital* Lake Forest
Northwestern Memorial Hospital* Chicago
Ottawa Regional Hospital & Healthcare Center Ottawa
Pekin Memorial Hospital Pekin
Richland Memorial Hospital Olney
Saint Anthony Medical Center* Rockford
Saint James Hospital Pontiac
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center* Mattoon
South Shore Hospital Chicago
St Mary Medical Center Galesburg
Swedish Covenant Hospital Chicago
The Carle Foundation Hospital* Urbana
Thorek Memorial Hospital Chicago
University Of Illinois Hospital Chicago

To view data from past years, please click here.

Levin & Perconti: Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Levin & Perconti is a nationally recognized law firm with over 25 years of experience successfully litigating all types of serious injury, medical malpractice, nursing home, and wrongful death cases. Collectively, our attorneys bring more than 150 years of medical and legal experience and are frequently asked to give expert opinions and advice to news outlets, professional and social groups, and law students.

Hospital-acquired infections and conditions such as bedsores, hip fractures, sepsis, and many others are often avoidable. These problems can also contribute or cause a patient’s death.

If you or someone you love has suffered injury, illness, or infection while in the hospital, please contact us for a free consultation to see if you have a case. Our services are free unless we recover money for you.

 

 

 

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dementia patients emergency room

Hospital Emergency Rooms Struggle with Dementia Patients

Many people who have the beginning signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease may be elderly, frail, and have other underlying medical concerns which land them in an emergency room. Their confusion can trigger accidents due to mobility or unsafe environments, and forgetfulness leaves them prone to higher personal injury rates, dehydration and malnutrition, or medication under and overdoses. But despite the higher trends of patients arriving to the ER with memory and confusion related disease symptoms, too many emergency rooms are not equipped to manage them.

As our country’s population continues to grow in the number of people that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the need for better health care services will expand as well. Until then, family members will have to stay vigilant in protecting their loved ones.

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pain medication overdose

Health System, Intensive Care Doctor, Pharmacist, and Nurse All Sued for Giving Excessive Doses of Powerful Pain Medicine

An Ohio hospital system has been at the center of intense scrutiny after one of its former intensive care doctors is said to have ordered “significantly excessive and potentially fatal” doses of “comfort” pain medicine for at least 27 near-death patients over the course of several years. One family is suing the health system as well as the doctor, pharmacist, and nurse responsible for allegedly giving an improper dose of fentanyl to their 79-year-old family member even though they had asked that lifesaving measures be stopped. Fentanyl, also known as Actiq, Duragesic or Sublimaze, is an especially potent painkiller used to treat extreme pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), strains of fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than morphine.

Although the hospital, part of the larger Mount Carmel Health System, has since acknowledged the doses in many similar patient cases were larger than needed. A legal team will now investigate as to whether the acts were intentional, and if the lethal drugs were possibly used improperly to accelerate the patients’ deaths.

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“To know that this happens is our country, that’s unacceptable.” 

-Sue Sheridan, patient safety advocate, in To Err Is Human

The medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti recently watched To Err Is Human, a newly released documentary showing the frequency and impact of medical errors upon American families. To see the facts relating to the frequency and severity of medical errors combined with the heart wrenching story of a family forever changed by these mistakes has left a lasting impression on all of us.

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veteran health care

Medical Mistake Leads to Terminal Cancer Diagnosis for Green Beret

The story of Sgt. 1st Class Rich Stayskal, as published on January 14, 2019 in Stars and Stripes, an independent news source to the U.S. military community, is tough to get through. Stayskal is a former Marine who later became a Green Beret but is now battling a terminal stage IV metastatic lung cancer. The husband and father of two says his military doctors missed a diagnosis opportunity that could have saved his life in 2017 when he first presented symptoms and a scan showed the illness.

But unlike similar malpractice claims patients can bring against the private medical community, Stayskal can’t do much because of a military rule known as the Feres doctrine. Feres prohibits military servicemembers from suing the government and is a rule that can only be changed via an act of Congress or a ruling by the Supreme Court. The rule, which has been upheld for more than 68 years, was meant to maintain a “no-fault” compensation system in the military where combat-related deaths and injuries are possible.

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“It would be great if the regulators of hospitals and doctors were more diligent about responding to harm to patients, but they’re not, so people have turned to other people. This is what happens when your system of oversight is failing patients.”

-Lisa McGiffert, former head of Consumer Reports’ Safe Patient Project to USA TODAY

You may be one of the many who rely on online reviews to help make decisions on everything from where to eat to what vendors to choose for house projects. How about using online reviews to decide which doctor to see? With the popularity of websites such as Yelp, Facebook, and other online platforms that allow customers and patients to post their opinion on venues, goods, and services, many are turning to the internet to help them choose healthcare providers.

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medical malpractice lawsuit

History of Common Malpractice Errors May Be Unknown to Patients

A recent investigation led by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today and MedPage Today found that even when surrendering a medical license because of unprofessional conduct such as sexual assault, medical malpractice or prescription abuse, physicians simply leave their bad history in one state and move their practice to another while continuing to make deadly mistakes as risky medical experts. Equally disturbing is that if a physician voluntarily surrenders his license, the public may not ever be able to access or gain knowledge about why the surrender occurred. Although the National Practitioner Data Bank has more than 1.3 million records of “adverse actions” going back to 1990, files can only be accessed by hospitals, insurers, and state medical boards. Individual states can file a complaint, but only if prompted to inquire of a physician offender’s harmful patient history.

Additional investigative findings published in December 2018 from the news organizations included:

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medical malpractice attorneys

How An Attorney Can Help You After a Surgical Burn

Unfortunately, medical mistakes and their related injuries remain all too common for today’s everyday patient. One largely preventable mistake some may not think of is a surgical burn. These injuries are likely to occur when a person is under anesthesia for a routine operation or reconstructive surgery and can range from first to fourth degree burn injuries as a result of a medical professional’s negligence or medical equipment or device failure. Burns are most often caused from an electrical, transferred heat, laser or other surgical equipment thermal burn immediately once contact is made with the patient. Patients may wake up from a surgery focused on an internal organ and find they are also being treated for a skin burn to their lower extremity, the most common area for surgical burns. While some burns can be treated in an outpatient center many others may require ongoing therapy and painful reconstructive surgeries.

While these cases might seem simple, an attorney will be needed to help gather answers and provide careful consideration of the facts prior to taking on a surgical burn case. During this investigative stage, an experienced surgical burn attorney can determine:

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In April, our blog highlighted the failure of the state of Illinois to check the National Practitioner Database (NPDB) in 2017 for ANY prior lawsuits or disciplinary action of a physician applying for a license to practice medicine. Illinois was one of 13 states in the country that didn’t use the database to query a physicians’ background a single time that year.

The news was troubling then, but is bringing up renewed feelings of mistrust and worry after information was released in a November 30th article through a collaborative investigation between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today, a website dedicated to providing education and news to physicians. The investigation found that over 250 physicians who had lost their medical license in one state are now practicing in another.

Doctor Leaves Trail of Injured Patients, Now Practicing in Cincinnati

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“We need to hold institutions accountable…this can’t just be a hashtag. It has to be real action and the way to do that is through changes in our legal system.” 

-Melissa Hoechstetter, victim of Robert Hadden, former Columbia University gynecologist

A civil lawsuit in New York was filed this week, accusing a top New York City gynecologist of sexual abuse.