Some statistics seem to point to a clear trend: A decrease in the number of persons dying in hospitals since healthcare reform laws went into effect. It is too early to say, however, whether this drop is significant enough to matter and whether it points to a continual drop in fatalities in the future.
According to statistics in a new government report recently released, hospitals across the country have been able to reduce the rates of medical errors occurring in their facilities. Since 2010, they have been able to save approximately 87,000 patient lives. The report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says that it is difficult to point out to the exact reasons for this drop in fatalities. The report also falls short of predicting a continuance of the drop in the future. In fact, according to the statistics, progress in preventing patient fatalities seems to have stalled in the past year.
However, some experts believe that the provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act have contributed to a decline in patient fatalities overall. According to these experts, the Affordable Care Act has given hospitals an incentive to eliminate the rate of medical errors, because hospitals that show good results in preventing patient injuries and fatalities are rewarded for their performance.
The incentives seem to have spurred hospitals to take more action to prevent patient fatalities. The statistics seem to definitely point to this. According to the research, in 2014, out of every 1,000 patients who were treated in hospitals, approximately 121 developed a hospital-acquired condition. That is a drop of 17% since 2010, when the rate was approximately 145 hospital-acquired conditions for every 1,000 patients. In addition, experts believe that the economy has saved more than $19 billion in health care costs as a result of this drop in errors and fatalities, which is very good news.
The bad news is that the data is unchanged from last year. That means that the progress made so far seems to have stalled for some inexplicable reason. It will take more than a few years to clearly establish whether the healthcare reform laws have been instrumental in helping to keep patients safe in hospitals, but for now the statistics seem to be promising.
The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy represent persons who have suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.