Big news from the federal government. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will continue to publish hospital errors on its Hospital Compare website but still kept the data for internal or industry use. This data includes information on the number of Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs), which includes infections, foreign objects left inside surgery patients, and bedsores.
The American Hospital Association fought to keep this data a secret. CMS was convinced that the data wasn’t comparable between facilities and that nobody would want it anyway. However, an alliance of hospital watchdog groups, including Leapfrog (publisher of annual hospital rating lists).
“People deserve to know if the hospital down the street from them had a disastrous event and should be able to judge for themselves whether that’s a reasonable indicator of the safety of that hospital,” Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, told USA Today.
Upon hearing of the decision reversal, Binder said, CMS’ “commitment to transparency” is “good news for the public.”
Shockingly enough, Leapfrog wasn’t the only advocate for more hospital transparency. The Business Roundtable, headed by Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman, put pressure on regulators and healthcare providers to improve transparency as well as encouraged consumers to look into the infection rates of hospitals before they schedule a procedure. That’s right. The guy who heads Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas wants you to hedge your bets and check out a hospital’s safety data before you go under the knife.
Hospitals will continue to fight and win against transparency measures by arguing data isn’t relevant or patients and their families don’t care. Show hospitals you do care about patient safety and how well your hospital is doing. Sign the Safe Patient Standard petition to demand a minimum standard of care in every hospital in Minnesota.