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Some hospital errors no longer disclosed to public

New York patients may be interested to learn that the federal government has stopped reporting when hospitals make major medical mistakes that are potentially life-threatening. According to the report, this is despite the fact that the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that they were not making these changes in 2013.

The CMS has reportedly removed the data available on eight hospital-acquired conditions. Prior to this removal of data, those who needed to have surgeries or procedures performed could check a public spreadsheet to determine which hospitals had the lowest rates. However, the website will still report the occurrence of 13 HACs such as post-surgery sepsis.

A representative stated that the changes were made to make the comparison website more relevant to consumers. They stated that they have received strong support for these changes from agencies that review hospital performance safety measures like the National Quality Forum. However, these changes also reduce the ability for potential patients to compare hospitals to each other, limiting their ability to choose the hospital that they believe may provide them with the best care. For example, one of the pieces of data that was dropped includes how often foreign objects were left inside patients, including medical sponges. These foreign objects could cause life-threatening complications or cause patients to lose portions of their intestines.

If a patient suffers severe or life-threatening hospital-acquired infections as a result of the medical staff failing to follow proper procedures, they could be entitled to compensation by filing a suit for medical malpractice. Injured patients may receive remuneration for the pain and suffering they experienced after a medical error.

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

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