The U.S. Health & Human Services’ inspector general has issued a report stating that 1 in 7 Medicare patients received harmful medical care while in a hospital. This inadequate or negligent care increased the duration of the hospital stays and caused or contributed to the deaths of some patients. And of course this all increased the cost of care to Medicare and therefore to all taxpayers. The report is based on data from October 2008.
Here is a stunning quote from the report: ”An estimated 1.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced an event that contributed to their deaths, which projects to 15,000 patients in a single month.”
Doctors who reviewed the patient data for the inspector general stated that almost half of the harmful care incidents were preventable. The additional cost to taxpayers was estimated to be $4.4 billion annually.