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“Safety advocates said that without access to public data, it has been too easy for hospitals to excuse poor outcomes by blaming mothers’ health problems.”

-USA Today

Hospitals Blame Mothers When Things Go Wrong

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.

 

 

 

“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.

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

A New York Times article earlier this month examined the financial impact of hospital mergers on their patients. In comments to the press and public, hospital CEOs and executives often speak of the benefits a merger will have, including offering quality care to people in areas that were underserved, while lowering costs to the patient because of the continuity in care. A lower cost, streamlined healthcare experience would be the result of fewer medical tests, as well as easy information exchange between physicians of differing specialties through a medical record system. This, hospital executives say, would reduce cost for the patient, while also increasing their ability to do their job and cut back on unnecessary visits, procedures, treatments, and tests, ultimately resulting in less waste.

But data seems to prove that rebranding a hospital actually has the opposite impact on a patient’s wallet, costing patients more through higher insurance premiums, deductibles or other out of pocket expenses.


Data Shows Chicago Hospital Mergers Cost Patients More

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group dedicated to hospital safety, has released their biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, showing an overall improvement in Illinois hospitals since the spring. According to Leapfrog, the survey measures hospital patient safety by the number of “errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” Participation by hospitals is optional and this fall, 110 Illinois hospitals agreed to take part. According to the data collected, Leapfrog rated Illinois hospitals as #13 overall, an improvement from #15 this past spring.

In a time where the increasing problem of medical errors is finally being given the platform it deserves, the survey is more relevant now than ever. The Leapfrog Group, citing an often quoted 2016 Johns Hopkins study, notes that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety and healthcare provider accountability is essential for all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Below is our analysis of the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report for participating Illinois hospitals.


Illinois & Metro Chicago Hospital Results

The Center for Justice and Democracy (CJ&D), a consumer rights group out of New York Law School, has shared their list of 22 famous figures who have been harmed and even killed by medical malpractice.

Most of us are familiar with the high profile drug-related tragedies of Michael Jackson (2009) and Prince (2016) and even Judy Garland (1969) and Marilyn Monroe (1962). Some of us are familiar with the details surrounding the death of comedian Joan Rivers in 2014 during an endoscopy at a New York City clinic.  But it was surprising even to us to read the details of medical neglect in cases involving other beloved celebrities. As CJ&D pointed out in their report, no one is exempt from medical negligence or malpractice, not even celebrities with all the money and resources in the world at their fingertips. The report also shared several findings that now have become well known to the public. Among them, that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in this country.

Each of the 22 cases highlighted in the report has resulted in a settlement or verdict (or is pending) and in many of them, grieving loved ones or the victims themselves have said that it’s not about money, but instead about enforcing a sense of right vs. wrong in the face of injustice.

On September 24th, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin published an interview with Levin & Perconti Partner Margaret Battersby-Black. Margaret is considered one of the top attorneys in the small group of female plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers. Last year, Margaret served as the chair of a new committee of the Illinois Trial Lawyer’s Association called the Women’s Caucus. Margaret also is involved in numerous other legal organizations, manages a full caseload, and is a devoted mother to two small children.

After proving her ability to work tirelessly and dedicate herself to her clients and the success of their cases, Margaret was named a Partner at Levin & Perconti in 2014.

Margaret is committed to mentoring young female attorneys and demonstrating that it is possible to achieve great things in both one’s legal career and personal life as a woman under 40.

The parents of an infant girl are suing Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), alleging that hospital’s failure to follow standard infection prevention controls led to their daughter’s death. She is one of 23 infants who were sickened during a 2016 hospital outbreak of adenovirus. Recent reports have indicated that there is a second infant who died, also allegedly due to the same viral contamination.

Melanie Sanders was a premature baby receiving treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOP, the 3rd best children’s hospital in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. Melanie, along with 22 other infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), became ill after receiving an eye exam. Each of the infants was diagnosed with adenovirus, a group of viruses that cause respiratory symptoms and can lead to pneumonia, an infection that can prove fatal to vulnerable hospital patients, especially children, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.

Of the 23 infants sickened by the virus, all showed respiratory symptoms, while 5 of these infants developed pneumonia. The hospital reported in the June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control that 12 of these patients “required increased respiratory support.” In addition to the 23 infants, 3 parents and 6 hospital employees acquired the virus.

A large study published August 6th in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) has connected higher heart attack survival rates to women patients treated by a female doctor. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a woman dies every 80 seconds from a heart attack. Women are also more likely to die from a heart attack than men, the reasons for which have never been proven.

Women MDs Linked to Heart Attack Survival

The study, entitled “Patient-physician gender concordance and increased mortality among female heart attack patients,” relied on hospital records of 582,000 heart attack patients in Florida hospitals over the nearly 20 year period between 1991 and 2010.

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