How the Justice System Affects the Pennsylvania Healthcare System

The American justice system gives injured victims a way to hold the individuals or entities that are responsible for their pain and suffering accountable. Our justice system also encourages our healthcare system in Pennsylvania and across the country to adopt patient safety guidelines that aim to prevent medical errors before they occur. The healthcare industry understands that if they make mistakes that cause patients injuries or death, they may be faced with expensive
personal injury or even wrongful death lawsuits.

file000433100468Despite Legal Accountability, Mistakes Still Happen

By identifying failures in the healthcare system and implementing modifications in procedures and practices, many specialties have improved patient outcomes significantly. However, even though our justice system has been an influential motivator as well as a valuable deterrent to malpractice in our healthcare system, it is still occurring. 

Hospital Acquired Infections in Pennsylvania

In April of 2015, Healthcare IT News reported which hospital facilities earned the worst scores for hospital-acquired infections. Before presenting the findings, however, it was stated that approximately 722,000 hospitalized patients acquire hospital-acquired infections each year, and that 75,000 of those patients would die due to the infections they acquired during their hospital stays. In Pennsylvania, Mid-Valley Hospital in Peckville and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville were the worst hospitals, marked in orange on the map for three failed measures each, and Florida and California topped the list for the worst hospitals for hospital-acquired infections.  

Federal Government Penalties

Preventable medical errors stands consistently as the number three killer in the United States. That may be why the federal government has also worked to improve these statistics – they have come up with a way to penalize hospitals if their hospital-acquired infection statistics are high. Back in December of 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that 721 hospitals were penalized with reduced Medicare payments because their hospital-acquired infection rates were high.

Possible Solutions

Medical errors occur in hospital facilities every day. In fact, Healthcare IT News calculated that there are 10,000 serious complications cases that arise from medical errors every day of the year. That is a staggering number that means that there is a chance a medical error could happen to any one of us or someone that we love if we are hospitalized. Possible solutions to this problem include:

  • – Increasing the number of registered nurses in each facility
  • – Supporting Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, and
  • – Establishing incentives for hospitals that are working hard to reduce their incidences of medical mistakes and hospital-acquired infections.

Obviously, something needs to happen.

If you or someone else you care about suffered a hospital-acquired infection in Pennsylvania, contact the law offices of Solnick & Associates for a free evaluation of your case. We will make sure that our justice system does not fail you like our healthcare system did.


(image courtesy of Kenn W. Kiser)