Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows. The report, covering 2013, marks the first time that the number of so-called “adverse events” in hospitals and other health care facilities has topped 500 – double the number in 2012, when 244 such incidents were reported. Much of the increase was due to an expansion of reporting on pressure ulcers, which added a new category with 233 “unstageable” ulcers that were not counted before. Even without that category, however, reports of adverse events climbed 20 percent over 2012. The most significant increases were in the numbers of patients harmed by foreign objects left in their bodies after procedures – doubling from 12 to 25 in one year — or those harmed by perforations during surgical procedures – 79, compared to 55 the previous year.
Local public health officials and health care providers are zeroing in on health disparities by using the “health equity index,” an online tool to measure the correlation between health and the socioeconomic factors that define a community.
Quality health care relies on patients and doctors communicating well, but in Connecticut medical interpretation is not covered by public or private insurance. In 2007 the state extended coverage for face-to-face professional interpreters for all Medicaid patients and estimated its cost at $4.7 million yearly, half of which would be reimbursed by the federal government. But the program has never been funded in the state budget, so none of the services promised under the law have ever been delivered.
A company under fire for producing faulty hip-replacement parts that could cause patients to need second surgeries has paid out more than $80.8 million to 200 physicians across the country since 2009 for promotion, research and consultation, a review by C-HIT shows.