Rising Hospital Penalties & Malpractice Claims – Weekly Must Reads in Patient Safety (Dec 18, 2015)

Recent reports show a rise in hospital penalties for failure to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and malpractice claims for outpatient anesthesia services.

Hospital Penalties

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is penalizing 758 US hospitals in fiscal year 2016 because they are in the worst performing quartile in the hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) reduction program.

Penalties are estimated to be $364 million, which is an increase from the $330 million in penalties imposed in 2015.

Thanks to @RexAWilcox77 for tweeting about this!

Malpractice Claims

The proportion of medical malpractice claims against outpatient anesthesia services are increasing, according to a recent study using data obtained from the National Practitioner Data Bank. This rise is likely due to the greater use of outpatient centers, like that where Joan Rivers died.

Inpatient claims have declined from $174.4 million in 2005 to $91.1 million in 2013, found the researchers.

Richard J. Kelly, MD, JD, MPH, FCLM, an anesthesiologist from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine said:

Overall, medical malpractice claims have decreased dramatically since 2005. Due to increased outpatient utilization, the proportion of claims for outpatients has actually increased as compared to inpatients; however, the amount that’s being paid for outpatient claims is still significantly less than inpatient claims.

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