Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Money Talks in Medicine

Too many people think doctors and hospitals know everything and can walk on water. Fact of the matter is, they don't and can't. Did you know that 25% of all hospital patients suffer the indignity of a urinary catheter even though many don't even need them? Installing them is simply automatic in a hospital. Did you know that half of all hospitals don't even bother keeping track of who gets them? Less than 10% of hospitals bother to check and see if they're still needed on a daily basis. That research comes from a recent study by the University of Michigan.

Urinary tract infections are at the top of the Will Not Pay list from Medicare beginning on October 1st of this year since it's one of the most common hospital errors. The others are:
Bloodstream infections.
Bed sores/pressure ulcers
Objects left in patients during surgery
Blood incompatibility (giving wrong type of blood)
Mediastinitis, a type of infection after heart surgery
Air embolism - an air bubble in a blood vessel

Since Medicare insures 44 million elderly and disabled Americans it has the clout to get the attention of hospitals. They've also sparked a movement to eliminate preventable hospital errors and insurance companies like Aetna are joining the parade.

It's about time.

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