Finally, Medicare will examine a variety of avoidable safety problems in patients that occurred from July 2011 through June 2013, including bedsores, hip fractures, blood clots and accidental lung punctures.

"With infections, we are moving in the right direction," said Lisa McGiffert, who directs the patient safety program at Consumers Union, "but I would not say we are anywhere near where we need to be."

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.