Healthcare Reform Should Include Patient Safety

While the debate about healthcare reform continues in Congress, there is little discussion among legislators about including patient safety measures in either House or Senate versions of healthcare legislation. An analysis by Hearst newspapers has shown relatively little interest in preventative measures in hospitals that could potentially save thousands of lives.
Medical errors including hospital infections, misdiagnoses, failures to diagnose, and wrong site surgeries contribute to thousands of lives lost each year. These are avoidable medical malpractice errors that could be addressed by patient safety measures.
However, there is some good news to report concerning patient safety. Last week, New Jersey became the sixth state in the country to provide consumers with hospital-specific error reports. The other states that provide such a service to consumers are Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington. I am pleased to say that our own state of New Hampshire will soon be added to this list of reporting states.