8 hospital errors no longer disclosed

Many residents in New York may be surprised to learn that the federal government stopped publicly disclosing data regarding eight hospital-acquired conditions as of August 2014. Potential patients are no longer able to research the data on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, although the agency denied it was making the changes in 2013.

The data used to be available through a public spreadsheet primarily utilized by advocates for patient safety and researchers, but that has recently been taken down as well. The eight avoidable HACs could be potentially lethal in many cases. The CMS's Hospital Compare website still lists 13 conditions, and the agency claims that the change is a reflection of more accurate data collection and incorporation from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's bloodstream infection data.

In an email, a CMS spokesperson described the change as more relevant and comprehensive in relation to the contemporary consumer. The changes were the product of a rigorous review process influenced by the new partnership with the National Quality Forum. One patient advocate claimed she thought her vote would strengthen measures, not drop conditions from the list. Moreover, some medical experts say that all of the information should be available to patients so that they could decide if a hospital is right for them or not.

Patients who suffered any injury due to medical errors may benefit from consulting a lawyer as soon as possible. Legal counsel might be able to investigate the incident and assess the damages, including the amount of compensation needed to account for economic and noneconomic hardships caused by the medical injury.

Source: USA Today, "Feds stop public disclosure of many serious hospital errors", Jayne O'Donnell, August 06, 2014

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