Hospitals, that have been the site of patient injuries and infections, will be penalized as Medicare moves to impose fines on facilities that have high infection and injury rates.

Over a one-year period, those penalties are expected to cost hospitals $330 million. Hospital-related infections and patient injuries are on the decline, but they're still not at a level that's acceptable to California medical malpractice lawyers. In fact, according to estimates by the government, in 2012, one out of every eight patients suffered an avoidable complication during a hospital stay.

While the rates of hospital-acquired infections, like central line-associated bloodstream infections, are on the decline, the declines are still not steep enough. They have not yet met targets set by federal health officials. Additionally, even as progress in helping reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections increases, the emergence of drug-resistant “superbugs" throws up new concerns.

Medicare will announce penalties for hospitals that continue to post high rates of patient injuries and infections. Starting in October, as many as 25% of the hospitals in the country, are expected to lose 1% of Medicare payments over a period of one year. As many as 761 hospitals are likely to be penalized in this manner. The final penalties will be set later this year, and when that happens, there may be some changes to the list.

Teaching hospitals are likely to be most affected by the penalties. As many as 54% of the country’s teaching hospitals have been marked for preliminary penalties. These hospitals seem to have a higher risk of infections and injuries, because they constitute an academic environment, in which there are different priorities of research, so that safety doesn't always get prioritized.

If you feel you or your family member have been harmed as a result of negligence or medical malpractice, please contact Michels & Lew attorneys today at 310-444-1200.