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Medical Errors Cost Nearly $20 Billion Each Year

Medical Errors Cost Nearly $20 Billion Each Year

The Wall Street Journal (8/9, Hobson) " Health Blog" reported that medical errors cost the US $19.5 billion in 2008, according to a study released Monday by the Society of Actuaries. The costs include both medical costs and those linked to lost productivity.

The Hill (8/10, Lillis) reports that the dollar figure cited is "likely low," according to consultants at Milliman, "who crunched the data." Jonathan Shreve, an actuary for Milliman who co-authored the report, said, "We used a conservative methodology and still found 1.5 million measureable medical errors occurred in 2008." More than "half of those costs were associated with just five avoidable medical injuries: pressure ulcers; post-op infections; mechanical troubles with devices, implants or grafts; post-laminectomy syndrome; and hemorrhages."