Leapfrog Surcharge Calculator Uncovers Millions Paid for U.S. Hospital Errors: Report

Employers and purchasers concerned about the high price of healthcare can now determine in advance how much they are paying for hospital errors, according to The Leapfrog Group.

To counter what has become a costly trend — reports estimate that purchasers can pay nearly $8,000 per patient in hidden surcharges due to medical errors —: the Hidden Surcharge Calculator tool allows purchasers to calculate how much they spend annually on unnecessary costs due to medical errors that occur within general acute care hospitals.

Developed by a team of experts, the tool has been awarded Gold Standard status by the Disease Management Purchasing Consortium. It is accompanied by Leapfrog’s white paper, “The Hidden Surcharge Americans Pay for Hospital Errors;” both were presented at the World Health Congress Innovative Drivers of Value Based Purchasing seminar.

Every year, more than 180,000 Medicare beneficiaries die from hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), errors, accidents and injuries. In 2012, The Leapfrog Group launched the Hospital Safety Score, which uses letter grades of A, B, C, D or F to rate the patient safety efforts and outcomes of more than 2,500 general acute care hospitals across the United States.

For those patients using hospitals with grades of C or lower, Leapfrog estimates that purchasers pay $7,780 in hidden surcharges due to medical errors. Employers with 1,000 hospital admissions per year can pay a hidden surcharge of more than $7.7 million. Purchasers can use the calculator to enter their own claims data and local hospital safety ratings from the Hospital Safety Score Web site to learn the estimated hidden surcharge they pay annually for hospital errors.

By shifting employees to A hospitals, employers can decrease these hidden surcharges and improve their employees’ and dependents’ safety. But even A hospitals have patient safety challenges and are not exempt from hidden surcharges, officials note.

The Hidden Surcharge Calculator, white paper and methodology can be viewed here.

Source: The Leapfrog Group , July 26, 2013

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