If you work in the healthcare industry in Pennsylvania, you may be feeling a bit uneasy. 149 hospitals in the state were recently penalized by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for high rates of patient injuries. Although hospital-acquired conditions have declined 21 percent since 2010, Pennsylvania hospitals still account for one in five facilities on the list nationwide.
Declining numbers, increased penalties
CMS also added the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes as a reason for penalties in 2016. The poor reporting system for superbug outbreaks has the public's attention back on care conditions in hospitals and nursing homes. Hospitals in the worst-performing quartile on the list will lose one percent of all Medicare payments for a year. An outbreak of the superbug MRSA or c. difficile put hospitals in the worst-performing quartile.
With more than half of all hospitals losing money on patient care as of 2014, every dollar is important to a facility. Administrators and executives could pass on the burden to doctors and nurses by threatening professional licenses.
Patient abuse and poor documentation are two reasons healthcare professionals can lose a license. Therefore, it is important for doctors and nurses to remain aware of industry-wide problems that could lead to legal and administrative penalties.
Innocent mistakes, severe consequences
Common mistakes are often made innocently and without the intent of harm, which can provide tough pills to swallow for medical professionals who are threatened with the loss of license. Nevertheless, common mistakes can be costly. Therefore, methods of proactive prevention are available and should be followed.
Harm to the patient, and not the intent of the care provider, determines consequences for doctors and nurses. If you are a physician or nurse that is accused of unsafe practices or is threatened with the loss of a license, you have the legal right to refuse questions. Although your altruistic sense of care as a health professional may lead you to cooperate with an investigation, you should instead contact a professional license defense attorney.