The federal government reviews over 100,000 complaints every year from patients who say they were harmed while receiving medical care. According to a 2015 federal work plan, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is planning to step up scrutiny of gaps in oversight that allow medical errors to hurt or kill patients.
The 2015 plan calls for turning up the scrutiny on how HHS supervises doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers. Federal inspectors are targeting several areas of patient safety. One of those areas is pharmaceutical compounding. Federal officials will examine how hospitals supervise pharmaceutical compounding, or the mixing of drugs to meet a patient's needs. In 2012, an outbreak of meningitis that caused 64 deaths was linked to an unaccredited Massachusetts compounding pharmacy.
Another area of patient safety that will be examined is how hospitals choose to vet doctors before allowing them to admit patients. The feds are planning on determining how hospitals assess medical staff candidates before granting initial privileges. One consumer advocacy group found that hospitals routinely fail to report or take action against doctors with a trail of medical mistakes and malpractice claims.
A final area that federal officials will scrutinize is long-term-care hospitals or inpatient rehab centers. Often, patients at those facilities are harmed by adverse events, such as falls, infections, or the wrong medications.
It's unfortunate that the medical professionals we trust to help us with our medical issues in some cases end up harming us. If you have been harmed by a medical professional, call the Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 713-489-9493. You can also learn more about the firm on LinkedIn.