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California Hospitals Fined for Hospital-Acquired Conditions

As San Diego medical malpractice lawyers, we are concerned that several California hospitals are not doing enough to prevent hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), which can lead to serious complications and even be fatal. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that 88 healthcare facilities in the state will be penalized for poor ratings in HAC quality performance measures.

As the name suggests, HACs are infections that patients develop while receiving medical treatment for other conditions. Some of the most common include central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, Clostridium difficile bacterial infections, and surgical site infections. These preventable infections impact approximately one in twenty patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To provide an incentive for hospitals to reduce HACs, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. The program requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to reduce Medicare payments to the worst-performing hospitals with respect to HAC quality measures.

The worst performing U.S. hospitals are identified based on the hospital’s performance on quality measures of central-line associated bloodstream infection, catheter associated urinary tract infection, and surgical site infection. The CMS rating system also takes the rates of the following conditions into account:

  • Collapsed lungs;
  • Broken hips;
  • Infections from colon operations;
  • Infections from hysterectomies;
  • Pressure ulcers;
  • Reopened wounds;
  • Sepsis; and
  • Surgical tears.

In California, 88 hospitals will be penalized in FY 2016 for their HAC rates. Of those, 51 were penalized in the last round as well, which suggests that some facilities are still not taking the proper steps to improve patient safety.

At the Law Offices of Robert Vaage, our legal team has the experience required to pursue a complex California medical malpractice claim. We encourage you to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.