An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year from medical errors, making patient safety one of the nation’s most pressing health care challenges.
- There are 40,000 incidents of harm in U.S. hospitals every day.
- Medical errors in American hospitals cause up to 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries each year.
- In the Medicare population alone, one in seven beneficiaries is harmed during the course of care, costing tax payers an estimated $4.4 billion a year.
- Of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital, nearly one in five is readmitted within 30 days accounting for about 2.6 million seniors at a cost of over $26 billion every year.
- Each year 100,000 patients in hospitals and nursing homes in this country die from infection they acquired after being in a health care facility.
Mountain-Pacific works with hospitals to address areas of patient harm for which there is evidence that safety can be improved by improving health care processes and systems.
Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infections
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are on the rise. This is due in part to an increase of invasive procedures being performed and a growing resistance to antibiotics, but for the most part many hospital infections are preventable.
The costs of HAIs are many; HAIs have a significant impact not only on patient health and quality of life, they cause death (over 99,000 a year), increase readmissions and hospital lengths of stay (an average of 19 days) and substantially consume health care dollars (the cost of treating an infection acquired in the hospital is about $43,000 more than the original treatment cost).
In an all out effort to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, Mountain-Pacific will work with hospitals, and entire communities to improve processes and systems that will result in a decrease in the following hospital-acquired infections:
Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs)
As many as 248,000 bloodstream infections occur in hospitals across the U.S. every year. Many of these develop due to the use of a central vascular (or line) catheter. These infections are called central line-associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSIs. They are serious infections and usually result in longer hospital stays and are sometimes fatal.
CLABSIs can be prevented through proper management of the central line catheter, but takes collaboration and focus. Mountain-Pacific works with hospitals in Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii and Alaska to promote safer practices and strategies to reduce the incidence of these harmful infections.
Surgical site infections, or SSIs, are infections that develop within 30 days of an operation and are related to the surgery. Patients who develop SSIs need significantly more care, thereby increasing risk of illness, time spent in the hospital or an intensive care unit and costs to hospitals and patients.
The prevention of SSIs requires focusing on their causes. Mountain-Pacific collaborates with hospitals to develop surgical guidelines and procedures to reduce the occurrence of SSIs.
Each year in the United States 90,000 people die as a result of an infection they acquired during their hospital stay. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections. According to some reports, more than 1 million cases of CAUTI occur each year in U.S. hospitals and nursing homes. CAUTIs lengthen hospital stays and increase the costs of care—a single incident will add $500 to $1,000 to the direct costs of acute-care hospitalization. Urinary catheters are inserted in more than 5 million patients per year. One out of four hospitalized patients will have a urinary catheter placed during their hospital stay and each day 5% of these patients will develop bacteria in their urine. The risk of a patient acquiring a CAUTI can be reduced by ensuring that catheters are inserted only when necessary, that they are placed using proper sterile techniques, that they are removed as soon as possible and that the closed sterile drainage system is maintained.
Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) can result from a hospital stay. CDIs can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. People at risk for CDIs may have an illness that requires prolonged use of antibiotics. Increasingly, the disease is also spread, particularly among older adults, in the hospital. Each year, tens of thousands of people in the United States get sick from C. difficile, including some otherwise healthy people who aren't hospitalized or taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are the course of treatment for CDIs.
Every year, 4.5 million patients are rushed to the emergency room due to medication side effects or errors. About 1.9 million of them are admitted into the hospital, and as many as 100,000 die. Adverse drug events (ADEs) are very common and hugely preventable. Patients 65 and older are two to three times more likely to experience ADEs when compared to younger patients. Mountain-Pacific is working to collaborate with pharmacists, clinicians, patients and patient advocates to improve health and safety by reducing the number of ADEs that occur every year.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides information on the quality of care given at many hospitals nationwide that have agreed to provide data on surgical infection prevention and heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia care. You can access this information and more at Hospital Compare, which is accessible at http://www.medicare.gov/. This resource can be helpful as you choose where to seek hospital care. Discussions with your physician and other health care providers, family and friends should also provide you with useful information.
C-difficile Fact Sheet