Timely and adequate reporting of medical errors is essential to proper oversight, accountability, and safety within in the healthcare industry. But, a few months ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) discontinued its practice of publicly reporting certain life-threatening mistakes. Fortunately, CMS quickly realized the negative impact that this could have on patient safety and reversed its decision last month. According to USA Today, CMS will resume publicly releasing data on hospital mistakes, including when foreign objects are left in patients’ bodies or people get the wrong blood type. Before the CMS stopped reported medical error information, the Hospital Compare website listed how often many hospital-acquired conditions occurred at thousands of U.S. acute-care hospitals – those hospitals where patients stay up to 25 days for treatment of severe injuries or illnesses and/or while recovering from surgery – but after the change, CMS only reported the rate of occurrence for 13 conditions, including infections like MRSA and sepsis after surgery. It discontinued reporting all other information. According to CMS’s decision to resume reporting, the information will not be released as part of the Hospital Compare website, but will be used for other safety ratings and researchers. But CMS spokesman Aaron Albright indicated that the agency would change its reporting processes in order to make it “more comprehensive and most relevant to consumers.” “We are working to make it available as a public-use file for researchers and others who are interested in the data,” CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said in an e-mail to USA Today. “It’s been requested, so we will make it available.” As reported in a recent USA Today article: “There is growing pressure on regulators and hospitals to be more forthcoming about safety and pricing. Increased transparency was one of the three health care policy recommendations issued by the CEO group Business Roundtable last week. Health care ‘is a market where it’s very hard to know what you’re buying,’ said Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesar’s Entertainment and chairman of the Business Roundtable’s health and retirement committee. He recommends, for example, that people considering elective surgeries such as knee replacements get a second opinion and research the infection rates at hospitals they are considering.” The medical malpractice law firm of Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish commends CMS for reinstating its policy of reporting medical errors as a means of promoting patient safety and accountability. We are committed to helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain full and fair financial recovery for their injuries. If you have been the victim of a medical error, contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to speak with one of our medical malpractice lawyers. Additional Information:
- Protect Yourself from Misdiagnosis and Other Leading Causes of Medical Error
- Most Common Medical Errors
- The Dangers of Unsterile Surgical Instruments and Other Surgical Errors
Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.