The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, conducted a four-year study by evaluating post-acute care provided in skilled nursing facilities. An adverse event is an event that resulted in harm (prolonged nursing home stay, transfer to the hospital, permanent harm, or death). This study concluded that the majority of the adverse events experienced by Medicare skilled nursing facility residents caused serious harm. The types of adverse events included:
• Events related to medication
• Substandard resident care
• Events related to infections
The four year government study concluded that over one-in-five (22%) Medicare beneficiary nursing home residents suffer an adverse event a skilled nursing home facility. An additional 11% of nursing home residents Medicare beneficiaries experienced temporary harm events, for a 32% total harm rate within 35 days of their post-hospital stay.
More importantly, physician reviewers determine that 59% of adverse events and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable. The most common preventable events included:
• Treatment was provided in a substandard way
• The resident’s progress was not adequately monitored
• Necessary treatment was not provided
• Error was related to medical judgment, skill or resident management
• Resident care plan was inadequate
• Care plan was incomplete or not sufficient in describing resident’s condition
• The resident’s health status was not adequately assessed.
Over half of the residents who experienced harm went to a hospital for treatment with an estimated cost to Medicare of $208 million in the month of August 2011 alone. Assuming that rate of Medicare spending on hospitalizations due to adverse events has remained constant throughout the year, this equates to $2.8 billion spent in fiscal year 2011 on hospitalizations associated with preventable adverse events that occurred in 2011.
The Office of Inspector General for February 2014 report
York Law Firm is comprised of Sacramento lawyers that handle elder abuse and wrongful death cases. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home or assisted living facility, or believe your family has a wrongful death claim, please call our office so that we can investigate your case at 916-643-2200 or contact us online. We are dedicated to representing families whose elders and dependent adults who have been injured, neglected or abused.