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Medical negligence on the decline

Over the past few years, the entire medical care industry has received an increasing amount of scrutiny and criticism over the level of care that is provided to patients. And while California state and federal legislators continue to debate health care reform policies, there is evidence to suggest that some guidelines are having a positive impact on patient care.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that avoidable medical mistakes like pneumonia contributed to the deaths of almost 100,000 hospital patients annually. A little over a decade later, it was also found that around 180,000 Medicare patients died as a result of substandard care every year. Recent findings suggest, however, that fatal incidents of medical malpractice have declined in recent years.

After reviewing thousands of medical records dating back to 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now estimates that some 50,000 people are alive as a result of a 17-percent decrease in medical mistakes. Beyond that, it is believed that hospital-related conditions like infections and bedsores dropped by approximately 9 percent in one year alone.

While many are lauding the recent findings as illustrating an overall improvement in patient care and safety, it is believed that recently enacted health care reforms implemented by the Obama administration are contributing greatly to the decline in preventable medical mistakes. New guidelines now mandate that the Medicare reimbursement that hospitals receive for patients who are readmitted within 30 days of their initial treatment be decreased. It is believed that such measures contributed to improved patient care, and it is also estimated that the decrease in mistake-related expenses has resulted in around $12 billion savings.

Compromised medical care can result in serious and even fatal injuries. That is why medical injury victims have the right to seek legal counsel today.

Source: hngn.com, “Hospitals Make 17 Percent Fewer Mistakes, Leading Better Care,” Ashley Helms, Dec. 2, 2014

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