A recent reversal of decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has brought this very question into the spotlight. The answer may surprise you. The reality is that currently there is no simple way to find out the safety record of a hospital.
CMS and Hospital Mistake Data
Up until last month, CMS publicly reported several life-threatening medical errors made by hospitals. Some of these errors included: foreign objects left in patients following surgeries, air embolisms, blood incompatibilities, falls and surgical site infections. CMS’s reporting definitely helped the public gauge the safety record of a given hospital. However, as reported by USA Today, CMS quietly stopped releasing this data in, or before, August, 2014.
CMS though has recently reversed its decision to stop reporting on hospital mistakes; and, federal regulators will once again make this data publicly available. The data will be available on the CMS website by the end of this year. CMS reversed its initial decision after media attention began to focus on how the lack of public reporting of medical errors threatened patient safety.
Is Patient Safety Still Threatened?
The reversal made by CMS is definitely a positive step towards increasing hospital transparency. However, in returning to our initial question, there is still no simple way for patients to find out the safety record of a hospital. This should alarm us all.
Let’s consider a few statistics on the matter. Research shows that 440,000 people in the U.S. are killed every year (yes, every year) by preventable medical errors (yes, preventable errors). One such error involves foreign objects being left in a patient’s body following surgery. USA Today reported in March of 2013 that this specific error occurs up to 6,000 times a year. Sponges account for more than two-thirds of these incidents. If left inside a patient, a sponge can imbed in intestines. For those patients that survive, the error results in complications than can last a person’s lifetime.
There is no question that medical errors still pose a substantial threat to patient safety. Suffice to say, it’s alarming to know that these errors take the life of over 400,000 patients each and every year. While still focusing on this number, many of us might be questioning whether something can be done.
Take Justice Back
The American Association for Justice (AAJ) recently launched “Take Justice Back.” Take Justice Back is a public education campaign that was created to inform Congress that patients in this country require more accountability in our healthcare system. The campaign is founded on the view that more transparency is needed when it comes to hospital and patient safety.
According to the Take Justice Back website, “there is no simple way for patients to find out the safety record of a hospital.” The website refers to preventable medical errors as an “epidemic plaguing this country.” The campaign encourages members of the public to contact their local representatives to help ensure they “prioritize patient safety and transparency.”
Phillips Law Firm Can Handle Your Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical errors causing patient injury or death should not go unaccounted for. Justice should be sought and affected patients and families should seek this justice through the most appropriate channel. The legal system is one such channel that our firm has unwavering experience and constant dedication in.
The highly skilled attorneys at our firm have years of experience in seeking justice in numerous types of medical malpractice claims. One such type includes cases involving preventable medical errors. Our medical malpractice lawyers are passionate about getting you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Phillips Law Firm today for the legal assistance you deserve.