KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Report: Hospital-Acquired Infections And Other Medical Errors Reduced By 17 Percent

A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services noted that this reduction took place between 2010 and 2013, and saved an estimated 50,000 lives.

The Wall Street Journal: Rate Falls For Often-Deadly Ailments Acquired In U.S. Hospitals
The incidence of often-deadly ailments that patients fall prey to inside U.S. hospitals fell by 17% between 2010 and 2013, the Obama administration said Tuesday. Such accidental ailments include infections, falls and adverse reactions to drugs. The administration estimates that the decline resulted in as many as 50,000 fewer people dying while hospitalized over the three-year period. (Radnofsky, 12/2)

Los Angeles Times: Obama Administration Announces Major Decline In Medical Errors
Infections and other medical errors that harm patients in hospitals have declined significantly, the Obama administration said Tuesday, hailing the progress as a sign that new efforts to improve patients' safety are bearing fruit. From 2010 to 2013, so-called hospital-acquired conditions declined 17%, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. (Levey, 12/2)

Reuters: U.S. Hospitals Make Fewer Serious Errors, 50K Lives Saved
About 50,000 people are alive today because U.S. hospitals committed 17 percent fewer medical errors in 2013 than in 2010, government health officials said on Tuesday. The lower rate of fatalities from poor care and mistakes was one of several "historic improvements" in hospital quality and safety measured by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They included a 9 percent decline in the rate of hospital-acquired conditions such as infections, bedsores and pneumonia from 2012 to 2013. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell is scheduled to announce the data on Tuesday at the CMS Healthcare Quality Conference in Baltimore. It is based on a detailed analysis of tens of thousands of medical records, but because data was collected differently before 2010, it is not possible to compare pre-2010 figures to later ones. (12/2)

McClatchy: Fewer Hospital Mistakes Mean 50,000 Lives, $12 Billion Saved
Improved patient safety and fewer mistakes at U.S. hospitals saved the lives of roughly 50,000 people from 2011 to 2013, the Obama administration reported Tuesday. Incidents of hospital-induced harm – such as adverse drug events, infections, falls and bedsores – fell by 17 percent, or an estimated 1.3 million episodes, from 2010. The improvements, driven by a number of public and private initiatives, saved an estimated $12 billion in health care spending, according to a new government report that found dramatic progress in the fight to curb preventable medical injuries at U.S. hospitals. (Pugh, 12/2)

The Fiscal Times: Drop In Hospital Error Rate Saves $12B Since 2010
Preventable medical errors and hospital-acquired infections have long plagued the U.S. health care system and led to thousands of unnecessary deaths, serious injuries and billions in health care costs each year. Now, a new report from the Health and Human Services Department suggests that new provisions under Obamacare, as well as a joint effort with health officials and hospitals, have dramatically curbed the problem over the last four years – resulting in 50,000 fewer preventable deaths and a savings of $12 billion. (Ehley, 12/2)

Politico Pro: HHS Sees Progress In Fighting Hospital-Acquired Harm
More than 50,000 lives and $12 billion have been saved in the past three years amid a drop in the rate of patients being harmed in the hospital, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced Tuesday. An estimated 1.3 million fewer injuries have been sustained in the hospital — apart from whatever health problem brought people there in the first place — amounting to a 17 percent decline from 2010 to 2013, according to a report released by HHS in time for a CMS safety conference in Baltimore. (Norman, 12/2)

Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by the Lehman Center for Patient Safety in Massachusetts found that medical errors often go unreported by patients -

The Boston Globe: Medical Errors Affect One-Quarter Of Mass. Residents
Nearly one-quarter of Massachusetts residents say they, or someone close to them, experienced a mistake in their medical care during the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday. And about half of those who reported a mistake said the error resulted in serious health consequences. The poll of 1,224 residents by Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that many people did not report the medical mistakes, often because they did not believe it would do any good, or they did not know how to report it. (Lazar, 11/2)

WBUR: After High-Profile Death, Medical Errors Still Harm Hundreds Of Thousands
Two decades after a Boston Globe reporter died from a preventable medical error in one of the nation’s top hospitals, hundreds of thousands of patients in Massachusetts are still suffering as a result of medical mistakes. A new survey finds that one in every four Massachusetts adults reports a mistake in their own medical care or that of someone close to them over the past five years — a rate that translates to more than a million people. Half of them say they or someone close to them suffered serious harm as a result. (Knox, 12/2)

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