Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Courant Calls for National Strategy On Preventable Medical Errors

The Hartford Courant editorializes, "Two recent reports exposed the disgraceful fact that Americans are at risk of dying from preventable medical errors and lapses in treatment when they go to hospitals to get help. It's time that Congress addressed this issue on a national level, instead of letting each state decide to do something -- or not." The paper cited "a report in the New England Journal of Medicine" that "showed that hospitals are not getting safer for patients." Separately, "a study on the Medicare population by the office of the inspector general of Health and Human Services, said that harm -- again, largely due to preventable errors – contributed to prolonging treatment or hospitalizations of 134,000 Medicare patients in one month (about one in seven patients)," the editorial noted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Administration Going After Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Time reports, "There is no official figure for how much fraud costs" Medicare and Medicaid "each year, but the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (made up of 100 private insurers and public agencies) conservatively estimates that at least $60 billion is lost on an annual basis, close to about 10% of Medicare and Medicaid's combined annual spending." Consequently, "the Obama Administration committed $1.7 billion this past fiscal year for fighting health care fraud, waste and abuse, significantly more than the figure in previous years. Those resources are helping to propel law-enforcement efforts, now concentrated in interagency teams, known as HEAT strike forces (Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Teams) that are focused on seven cities." Gerry Roy, of the HHS Office of Inspector General, said, "We are just beginning to scratch the surface."