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Study Shows Need for Nursing Homes to Stop Spread of Infections

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that there is an estimated one to three million serious infections that occur in nursing homes on an annual basis. These infections result in about 300,000 deaths each year. Although CMS penalizes healthcare facilities for events, including infections, that occur when they shouldn’t, repeated infections still remain a significant problem and a major risk to the health of nursing home residents and all patients in healthcare facilities.

In an effort to combat this problem, CMS will begin penalizing healthcare facilities that have readmissions within 30 days by reducing their Medicare payments. These penalties will begin in fiscal year 2017. The economic impact of repeated infections, which the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality last calculated in 2012, is substantial. The healthcare costs for just one central line-associated bloodstream infection averages $70,696, and costs can range anywhere from $40,412 to $100,980. Given the current prevalence of multiple incidences of these infections, the overall costs are absolutely staggering.

Certain types of patients are particularly prone to contracting infections in healthcare settings. These patients include anyone who is ventilator-dependent or who have an indwelling medical device, such a catheter, IV, or PICC line. Many of the patients in this situation have multiple medical devices that increase their risk of infection. Plus, those patients with morbid obesity, stroke victims, health trauma patients, and those with acute or chronic respiratory failure are at an increased risk of infection, as well.

Nursing homes must take measures to help ensure the safe and appropriate care of all residents, including avoiding the constant spread of infection. By hopefully eliminating some of the factors that directly contribute to this problem for nursing home patients, it is our sincere hope that nursing homes can eliminate this very dangerous issue in their patients. At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of all those residents and their families who have suffered substantial injuries while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries and illnesses from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin nursing home abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.