Government power grab
The HHS inspector general’s report that 13.5% of Medicare patients are harmed by medical care received in hospitals (“A heavy toll,” Nov. 22, p. 10) should send a chill up everyone’s spine, but not for the reasons one might assume. Rather than lead to an improvement in patient care, this kind of self-serving statistical analysis can be construed only as a misguided attempt to justify the ever-increasing cost of an already bloated government agency. Translation: More government intervention, more money for bureaucracy and overhead, and less for direct patient care. I’m all for hospitals being as safe as they can be, but let’s face it—if this 13.5% harm rate was legitimate, trial lawyers would be making even more hay out of medical errors than they already do, and hospitals couldn’t get malpractice insurance at any price.
Mike Wiltermood President, chief executive officer Enloe Medical Center