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The Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When you go into a Massachusetts hospital for treatment, you don’t expect to acquire an infection or a secondary condition. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have identified specific conditions that should not occur to patients receiving hospital care. Originally called “never events,” the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program works to increase patient safety and other factors.

What are “never events,” according to Medicare?”

Medicare has identified specific conditions that should never arise resulting from treatment that could ultimately lead to medical malpractice. If these conditions occur during a Medicare patient’s treatment, the agency may reduce the facility’s financial payment and eliminate any further financial responsibility for the patient. These conditions include:

  • Urinary tract infections from catheters
  • Bloodstream infections resulting from central line placements
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Diabetes-related glucose management conditions
  • Transfusion with an incompatible blood type
  • A foreign object left in the body following surgery
  • Injuries from falls, burns, etc.
  • Infections at surgical sites

CMS instituted its original policy in 2008, focusing on patient safety. The efficacy of the policy has been controversial. However, a 2015 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that the rules have had some effect in reducing HAC events, while the implementation of the Affordable Care Act resulted in a further reduction of HACs when financial penalties were involved.

HACs can cause serious harm

Preventable HAC s can cause substantial harm or even death to a patient no matter what their age. Health care facilities with a poor HAC score also tend to be located in communities with high racial diversity, as the financial impact of a poor area may hinder these facilities’ ability to provide proper care.

Issues that also affect HAC rates include increased or unnecessary use of antibiotics, releasing patients too early, and not testing for conditions before facility admission.