Nearly one million patient safety incidents occurred among Medicare patients in 2009. This figure almost matches what happened in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008.
According to HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings organization, errors cost the federal Medicare program nearly $8.9 billion and resulted in 96,402 potentially preventable deaths from 2006 through 2008. Medicare patients who experienced one or more of the 15 patient safety events had approximately a one-in-10 chance of dying as a result of an event.
Patients at hospitals in the top 5 percent experienced 43 percent fewer patient safety incidents, on average, compared to poorly performing hospitals. If all hospitals performed at this level, 218,572 patient safety incidents and 22,590 deaths could potentially have been avoided, saving $2.0 billion from 2006 through 2008.
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