How Safe is Your Hospital? New Website Lets You Check

A helpful tool is now available to check out how safe your preferred hospital is. The ultimate goal is for Medicare to adjust it’s pricing of procedures based on the safety ratings at particular hospitals. To learn more about how we help seniors in South Florida, including visits to the doctor or hospital, visit us at http://caremanage.com. We serve the South Florida areas of Boca Raton, Boyton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach and other surrounding areas.

How safe is your hospital? New website lets you check
Government website lists rates of surgical complications, infections and other problems

Medicare has begun publishing patient safety ratings for thousands of hospitals as the first step toward paying less to institutions with high rates of surgical complications, infections, mishaps and potentially avoidable deaths.

The new data, available on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website, evaluate hospitals on how often their patients suffer complications such as a collapsed lung, a blood clot after surgery or an accidental cut or tear during treatment. The measures also include specific death rates for patients who had breathing problems after surgery, had an operation to repair a weakness in the abdominal aorta or had a treatable complication after an operation.

In addition, Hospital Compare is evaluating rates of some specific medical errors, such as giving patients the wrong type of blood, leaving surgical implements in patients’ bodies during surgery and falls that occur during their stay.

The evaluations are part of Medicare’s broad move from paying hospitals a set amount for each procedure. That change was directed by last year’s health care law, which set up new “value-based purchasing program” that will begin in October 2012. Over time, hospitals with the lowest quality—as judged by a variety of metrics, not just the new patient safety measures—will be at risk to lose up to 2 percent of their regular Medicare reimbursements under the health law.

The new data on patient safety moves Medicare further along toward its ultimate goal, which is to base payments on the actual medical outcomes for patients. To rate hospitals, Medicare is comparing them to the national rates for medical complications and hospital acquired conditions. For instance, on average, 2.1 out of every 1,000 patients discharged suffered an accidental cut and tear from medical treatment. Out of 100 patients, 4.4 on average died after surgery to repair a weakness in their abdominal aorta.

By looking at how a hospital compares to the national average on this and other complication statistics, Medicare has come up with overall evaluations of how good hospitals are at avoiding complications and hospital-acquired conditions. Medicare is aiming to incorporate the new patient safety data into payments in the second year of the program.

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