What do Minnesota Hospitals Have to Hide?

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:


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Nurses have been calling for hospital transparency.  State lawmakers have been calling for hospital transparency.  Now Minnesota’s biggest newspaper is calling for hospital transparency too.  Their editorial asks, “what do Minnesota hospitals have to hide?” Link here.

This spring, 96 of Minnesota’s 134 hospitals (children’s and other specialty hospitals were excluded) were supposed to reveal the report cards they were issued that compared the quality of their care and the costs of their care to each other.  These Hospital Total Care Reports, however, are filed away within the facilities as they have refused to let consumers see them.  Even the “good” report cards.  The Minnesota Hospital Association is also not advising the reports to be released.  Only one facility, Ridgeview Medical Center, released their report.

Minnesota lawmakers passed a law last year requiring hospitals to report staffing plans and actual staffing data here to a public website to help consumers judge which hospitals had the best care.  Hospitals responded with data that listed staffing but included hours from nutritionists, clergy, and even patient advisors but omitted the patient census figures that actually tells consumers how busy a hospital can be.  With this jumble of figures, the data from Minnesota hospitals is confusing at best.

These tactics are not what patients and their families need to make life-altering choices in the quality of care they receive.  Minnesotans want to know that regardless of which hospital they choose (or are forced to choose due to changing insurance coverage) that will receive a minimum standard of care that includes safe staffing where nurses have enough time to give them the quality care they deserve.

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