Almost fourteen percent of Medicare patients experience adverse events during hospital stays

Almost fourteen percent of hospitalized Medicare patients experienced adverse events during their hospital stays, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General.

The report also found that an additional 13.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced events during their hospital stays that resulted in temporary harm.  Physician reviewers estimate that 44 percent of all events were preventable. Preventable events were linked most commonly to medical errors, substandard care, and lack of patient monitoring and assessment. 

The researchers recommend greater oversight as well as financial incentives to improve care and reduce errors.

(Sources: The Office of the Inspector General, http://oig.hhs.gov/, November 2010)