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Area hospitals are penalized for high rate of hospital-acquired illnesses.

When patients are admitted to the hospital, they seek medical treatment that will help them combat illness, not compound the effects of an ailment. For those with compromised immune systems, contracting additional infections while admitted in a facility is not a rare event. A recent report in MedCity News suggests that it is in this environment where patients may come in contact with more than the hospital staff, as preventable infections and conditions top the list of hazards patients face when they seek medical care.

According to the publication, 769 hospitals in the US will be assessed penalties for their failure to resolve issues relating avoidable conditions such as blood clots, bed sores and falls. For the elderly and those with limited mobility, these conditions can develop as a result of restricted movement and lack of exercise. While this triad of conditions is manifest in retirement homes, the preventable nature of these conditions has attracted government scrutiny over the past three years.

What is novel about the penalties assessed this year is that they include a new category: hospital- acquired illness. Loose medical policies governing the prescription of antibiotics for patients have led to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria that can cause complications in the lungs, joints, intestines, kidneys and other organs. In the government review, the prevalence of cases connected with MRSA, a type of staph infection, and C. diff, a digestive germ, was studied. While both infections can be spread outside the hospital environment, failing to sanitize surfaces appropriately allows them to be transmitted easily.

As of December 2016, hospitals penalized by the government will lose 1 percent of the Medicare funds allotted to their facility. Included in the report is a list of hospitals penalized for the high rate of reported injuries and illnesses. Several Tennessee hospitals will lose funding as a result of preventable conditions recorded.

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