The federal government is taking new steps to lower the number of hospital patients who die from infections after receiving treatment.
In a recent announcement via Consumer Reports, the Department of Health and Human Services noted that starting in October 2012, hospitals will have the amounts of their Medicare payments influenced by their performance in protecting patients from infections.
“Patients shouldn’t have to worry about getting sicker with an infection they catch in the hospital but every year nearly two million Americans do,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. “Making infection rates public is a powerful motivator for hospitals to improve care and keep patients safe.”
According to the report, some 100,000 hospital patients currently die from infections each year, indicating the serious scope of this public health problem. The situation is said to produce an additional $45 billion in costs for the healthcare system each year. These infections are said to affect about 2 percent of all surgeries.
From a life insurance perspective, the data also serves as a reminder about how important it is to financially protect loved ones in the event of an unexpected death.