The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made a change this month to stop the disclosure of many serious hospital errors and health risks to the public. A story in USA Today reports that the data on eight “hospital-acquired” conditions were removed from the Centers’ web site.
Prior to this change, the Hospital Compare website allowed the general public to access data on the rate of hospital-acquired infections and injuries. Last summer, much of the data was removed and placed in a spreadsheet which, while still accessible, was difficult for the average user to comprehend. Now, even the spreadsheet has been removed, and patients are finding it increasingly difficult to research hospital safety records. Without the ability to view data on the hospitals they wish to attend, patients are not effectively able to decide on the safety and efficiency of one hospital over another.
The Centers claim that the conditions that were removed from the data are rare and should never happen in a hospital setting. While this is seen as justification for some, others believe that makes it even more important to be included, especially considering that experts estimate that as many as 6,000 such events occur each year.
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act were designed to improve hospital safety with financial incentives. Hospitals with the highest rates of some hospital-acquired conditions will lose a portion of their Medicare reimbursement as a result. It is important for the history and risks involved with a hospital to be publicized to ensure accountability, and ultimately, increased safety. This information allows the public to ”vote” with their feet, and high rates of preventable errors are precisely the type of information that is important to many, and could be the basis for liability. Lopez McHugh attorneys are well versed in handling medical malpractice lawsuits. If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence, it is important that you know the options that are available to you. Contact an experienced Lopez McHugh attorney today at (877) 737-8525 for an initial case evaluation free of charge.