As bad as the VA scandals are, private health care has its own issues.
Some years ago, I worked on a project with a major malpractice carrier to create a system to record patient incidents in PA hospitals.
It was eye opening.
Findings nation wide.
Preventable Medical Errors – The Sixth Biggest Killer in America
Preventable medical errors kill and seriously injure hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Any discussion of medical negligence that does not
involve preventable medical errors ignores this fundamental problem. And while some interested parties would prefer to focus on doctors’ insurance
premiums, health care costs, or alternative compensation systems
—anything other than the negligence itself—reducing medical errors is the best way to address all the related problems. Preventing medical errors will
lower health care costs, reduce doctors’ insurance premiums, and protect the health and well-being of patients.
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year at a cost of $29 billion.1 If the Centers for Disease Control were to include preventable
medical errors as a category, these conclusions would make it the sixth leading cause of death in America. 2
Further research has confirmed the extent of medical errors. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 181,000 severe
injuries attributable to medical negligence in 2003.3 The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates there are 15 million incidents of medical
harm each year.4 HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare rating organization, found that Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety
incident had a one-in-five chance of dying as a result.5