Medical errors which occur in U.S. hospitals remain one of the most poignant issues that receive little attention according to the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. Approximately 15 years ago there was a study reported by the Institute of Medicine which drew attention to the issues that needed improvement in hospitals and focus on preventable medical errors.
Ashish K. Jha, M.D., MDH is a practicing General Internist and is a Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and is a newly elected member of the Institute of Medicine. He recently testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging and stated that if the question is “are patients clearly safer in U.S. hospitals today than they were 15 years ago?”, “the unfortunate answer is no”. Dr. Jha focuses his research on improving quality and reducing costs. The Subcommittee Chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders convened the panel in order to raise awareness to the fact that premature deaths associated with “preventable harm”, to hospital patients total approximately 400,000 per year, more than four times higher than what was reported in 1999. Senator Sanders even at one point called the current system and hospitals “dysfunctional, profit oriented and not patient centered”. He further has advocated a need for Federal Legislation through the Health System to stress fundamental system redesigns and make safety a part of the “culture of the institution”. Dr. Jha even said “until we get, to the point where the CEO of the hospital is lying awake at night worrying about patients safety, I don’t think we’re going to move the needle”.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact Stark & Stark today for a free consultation.