Hospital safety incidents in Medicare patients cost $6.9bn a year

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 08 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1479
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

    In hospital, Medicare patients, all those 65 and older in the United States, experience a serious, preventable safety event every 1.7 minutes, according to the latest analysis by the healthcare consulting company HealthGrades. Although some of the 15 measured incidents rose or fell slightly in the past year, overall there was no change in safety from last year’s report.

    The study used proprietary metrics to analyse data generated by the Medicare programme in the years 2005-7. It tallied 913 215 safety events, which cost an estimated $6.9bn (£4.7bn; €5.2bn) in additional healthcare spending.

    The most common events were failure to rescue, decubitus ulcers, and respiratory failure after operation, …

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