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Many New York hospitals may risk medical malpractice claims

While hospital star ratings are not always a predictor of the kind of care one will receive, they may be indicators of areas where hospitals need improvement. The Center for Medicare Services recently released its star ratings report, and New York hospitals did not score very well. The ratings are based on a five-star system that measures 64 areas of quality. Hospitals that neglect those areas of quality may open themselves to medical malpractice claims.

The ratings for hospitals statewide indicate that more than half of patients surveyed felt their care was below average. The report showed that doctors frequently ordered unnecessary diagnostic tests, which suggests that physicians may not be well educated in the use of these tests. Additionally, hospitals in the state seem to need improvement in reducing the risk of surgical infections.

Many patients are made to wait much longer in New York hospitals than the average wait for patients across the country. Analysts who attribute these delays to the high number of patients needing attention also maintain that, if one has a fractured bone, an hour is too long to wait for pain medicine. Perhaps more seriously, patients at some local hospitals experienced delays in treatment even when displaying symptoms of a heart attack.

A few New York hospitals scored very well on the star-rating survey. Most of them, however, received one or two stars. Patients do not feel they are treated well, and many do not understand the instructions they are given for care after being discharged. These gaps in communication are only one way in which a hospital may open itself to a medical malpractice claim. CMS hopes the star rating system will spur improvements in the hospitals that scored poorly.

Source: acsh.org, "New York's Hospital Star Ratings Part 2: The real culprit appears?", Charles Dinerstein, Aug. 8, 2016

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