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Hospital mistakes data not as easy to access

Reported by: Sandra Gonzalez
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Updated: 8/07/2014 12:09 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Taking charge of your health care can come down to finding out how often local hospitals make mistakes. However, that won't be as easy as before.

When hospitals have left foreign objects in patients after surgery, or committed other hazardous mistakes, those errors were publicly reported by the government until last year. But as health care insurance has changed through the Affordable Care Act, so has safety reporting at hospitals by the federal government.

Data about 'hospital acquired conditions' or HACs once appeared on the federal Hospital Compare website, but now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is releasing new and different data which it believes is more comprehensive and relevant to consumers.

The Leapfrog Group rates hospitals including those here in the Las Vegas valley.

"The problem is that the public, just any of us sitting in our living room looking on the internet, aren't going to be able to directly access information about these 'never' events that are happening in our hospitals," said Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder.

Binder says the public needs to know about events that should 'never' happen such as bedsores, falls and air bubbles.

"I think it's senseless that the American public does not have access to very important information about some pretty bad errors that are happening in hospitals. I think that if there is a hospital down the street from you that has a really disastrous event, you deserve to know about it," Binder said.

The information is still available to researchers, but the Leapfrog Group says the public should have the same access.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a portion of hospitals with highest rates of certain mistakes would be impacted by less Medicare reimbursement.

So while the government won't be releasing hospital mistakes to the public, Leapfrog will still have access through another avenue.

The Leapfrog Group's latest Hospital Safety Score was released last spring.



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