Nearly 300,000 hip fractures occur each year in the United States, causing substantial short- and long-term disability and increased mortality.  Hip fracture is associated with an increase in short-term mortality (death within one year) for women ages 65 to 79 years and healthy women ages 80 years and older, although the risk returns to previous levels after one year for women ages 70 years and older, according to a report published online first by Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

This study once again informs nursing homes that fall prevention and adequate interventions are needed to prevent falls and fractures.

 Court documents unsealed today show that the federal government is investigating Life Care Centers of America, whose headquarters is in Cleveland, Tenn., for a suspected nationwide Medicare fraud scheme.  The documents allege that the company, which has more than 200 facilities in 28 states, has instituted a policy of Medicare up-coding and unnecessary therapy treatments since at least 2006.  Court documents show Medicare paid the company $4.2 billion in payments from 2006 to 2011.  The whistleblower lawsuits were filed separately in 2008 by former employees, one in Florida, the other in Tennessee.  See above article at The Times Free Press.

The Sun Chronicle reported more details including that the nursing home chain defrauded Medicare by billing at high rates for services that were not covered, not medically necessary and not skilled care.  The allegations against Life Care follow a 2010 report by the U.S. Inspector General’s Office critical of billing by skilled nursing care facilities.




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Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that despite efforts to improve surgical safety, 4,044 so-called "never events," including leaving a foreign object such as a sponge inside a patient’s body, occur in the U.S. each year. Laura Landro reports on The News Hub.

They are known as "never events"—the kind of mistake that should never happen in medicine, like operating on the wrong patient or sewing someone up with a sponge still inside—yet new research suggests that they happen with alarming frequency.

Surgeons make such mistakes more than 4,000 times a year in the U.S., according to a study led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, published online in the journal Surgery. The study, using data in the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical-malpractice judgments and out-of-court settlements, looked at cases involving leaving an object inside a patient, wrong-site surgeries, wrong procedures and wrong-patient surgeries.

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