Making Matters Worse: The Impact of Hospital Acquired Conditions

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals around the nation are furloughing staff of elective procedures in an effort to remain financially stable. The focus of hospital resources has shifted from these ordinary procedures to address Covid-related issues. However, everyday patients and their underlining medical conditions do not just go away over-night. This situation puts non-Covid related patients at a potential risk today due to the lack of staff, resources, and attention they receive.

Patients in hospitals already suffer physical, emotional, and financial anguish when dealing with a serious medical condition. Unfortunately, and, sometimes unknown to some, many patients endure hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) that leave them in a worse condition compared to when they entered a healthcare facility. Thus, it is important to know the facts and circumstances that surround these preventable injuries, especially when dealing with the circumstances of today and the foreseeable future.

What are HACs?

Hospital acquired conditions are defined by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as avoidable complications of care that could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines. Basically, HACS are preventable injuries that occur at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or other hospital employee that were not present at the time of admission into a hospital.  HACs are identified by 14 distinct conditions.

Identifiable HACs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid legally recognize specific hospital acquired conditions. The criteria for identification include: (1) high cost and/or high volume; (2) higher payment when present as a secondary diagnosis; and (3) reasonably preventable through applicable guidelines. The 14 current recognized categories are:

  • Foreign Object Retained After Surgery
  • Air Embolism
  • Blood Incompatibility
  • Stage III and IV Pressure Ulcers
  • Falls and Trauma
  • Manifestations of Poor Glycemic Control
  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Vascular Catheter-Associated Infection
  • Surgical Site Infection, Mediastinitis, Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Bariatric Surgery for Obesity
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Certain Orthopedic Procedures
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device (CIED)
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis/ Pulmonary Embolism
  • Iatrogenic Pneumothorax with Venous Catheterization

Physical and Financial Hardship

On top of a patient’s serious medical condition, HACs cause additional physical and financial hardships that negatively impact everyday life. Patients who develop hospital acquired conditions are more likely required to stay in a hospital for a longer duration of time. Longer hospital stays put patients at risk for aggravating existing conditions and developing new complications.

Additionally, these longer stays require more treatment, increasing the cost of medical bills and expenses. Moreover, HACs require longer recovery times that prevent a patient from returning to work resulting in lost wages. Some cases of hospital acquired conditions can also lead to death. According to IBM Watson Health, in 2016, an estimated 3,200 deaths were attributable to HACs.

Finding a Solution

Hospital acquired conditions have severe consequences to a person’s physical and financial life. It is important to note that these consequences are completely preventable and should be avoided by hospitals.

If you believe to be suffering from any of the 14 known hospital acquired conditions as stated above, you may have a claim to recover legal damages against your healthcare provider. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please call our office at 330-722-8989.

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Can I appeal my workers’ compensation denial?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault situation. You do not have to prove that your employer was at fault. However, this does not mean that every claim is valid. The insurer will still investigate to ensure that you were not to blame for the accident. In addition, the insurer requires specific adherence to deadlines and documents that you must provide.

If you fail to properly file your case or the insurer finds you to be fully at fault for your accident, then the insurer could deny your claim. In most cases, a denial is something you can negotiate. According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, if you get a workers’ compensation claim denial, then you do have the right to appeal.

How to appeal

To appeal, you will file a written notice with the BWC. Your document must include an explanation of why you want to appeal, your claim number, your name, your employer’s name and the date of the original claim. You must sign and date the form before submitting it. You can bring it to the BWC local office, fax it to the office or mail it.

Things to keep in mind

Your appeal will go to the Industrial Commission of Ohio. The IC works with the BWC to review your claim, the denial and appeal. There is a hearing that you will attend where the IC conducts its investigation. You can present evidence at the hearing to back up your claim. The IC issues a written decision.

You can appeal within 14 days after you get the denial notice. You have the right to appeal any part of a claim denial with which you do not agree.

Could a drowsy driver put you at risk?

Ohio residents face many dangers any time they hit the road. Drowsy drivers are only one of these dangers. But drowsy driving is an act that may cause more damage than you think. 

We will look at the true impact drowsy driving has on road safety today. Not only will we see how it affects other drivers. We will also see why it is still an ongoing and even growing issue. 

How many people drive tired? 

The National Sleep Foundation ran a poll once. In this poll, a shocking 60 percent of all Americans polled admitted to driving while tired. 37 percent even admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. Why is this such a widespread problem? For many, this is because they think drowsy driving is an acceptable behavior. At the very least, they do not think it is too risky. Many drivers claim they have driven drowsy with no repercussions or know someone who has. This creates a false sense of safety. 

How does exhaustion affect the body? 

In reality, many drowsy drivers end up in crashes. This is because drowsiness affects drivers like alcohol does. Their responses slow. They cannot react to danger fast enough. They are unable to keep a good eye on their surroundings. This is why so many crashes with drowsy drivers are rear-end collisions. A car stops, and the drowsy driver behind them does not notice in time. 

The biggest risk is a drowsy driver falling asleep at the wheel. In these accidents, a driver may drift across a barrier into oncoming traffic. These crashes often come with severe injury or fatality. This is even more true if it takes place on a highway where speeds are high. 

Understanding the risk of drowsy driving will encourage drivers to avoid it. In avoiding it, less drowsy drivers are on the road. This can create a safer environment for everyone.