Adverse events affect 21% of Medicare long-term hospital patients, OIG finds

HHS' Office of Inspector General found 21 percent of Medicare patients in long-term care hospitals experience an adverse medical event, according to a November report.

Here are four things to know:

1. Nearly half, or 46 percent, of Medicare patients in LTCHs experience either an adverse event or temporary harm events during their stays. Adverse events cause lasting harm, while a temporary harm event requires medical attention but does not result in persistent harm.

2. Physician reviewers determined 54 percent of the adverse or temporary harm events could have been prevented.

3. Hospitals in general have about a 27 percent adverse event or temporary harm event rate. Skilled nursing facilities have a 33 percent rate, and rehabilitation hospitals have a 29 percent rate.

4. While admission in LTCHs presents more opportunities for harmful events due to longer stays, the number of harm events per patient day was similar between other post-acute settings, the OIG said.

To access the OIG's full report, click here.

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