A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services revealed that in 2011 more than one of every five patients in skilled nursing facilities (SNF) suffered serious harm from events such as medication errors, falls, or infections.

Among the reasons, described in a Forbes.com article, is that patients are hastily transferred to SNFs, despite the facilities’ inability to provide adequate care.

According to the report, of the patients who were harmed:

  • 50% were sent to the hospital, with $3 billion in costs to Medicare
  • 6% percent died
  • 60% of these adverse events could have been prevented

The culprit may be Medicare and its payment rules. Medicare pays fixed amounts to partnering institutions such as hospitals, nursing facilities, and home health care agencies to provide a full range of medical care and treatment. Under the system, if the partners can render the care for less that the Medicare payment, they share in the savings, creating an incentive to discharge patients out of expensive hospital stays and into SNFs where costs are lower, but where the quality of care may not be as good.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm during a nursing home stay, or if have questions regarding the quality of care you received as a patient in a skilled nursing facility, hospital, or other medical setting, call the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group today – we’re here to help.

Michael J. Cunningham

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Michael J. Cunningham

For the past 30 years, Mike has been enormously successful in representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice, auto accident, and premises liability cases. Much to the dismay of his adversaries, Mike has obtained countless verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million.