New Hampshire Hospitals and Adverse Event Reporting

New Hampshire hospitals have complied with the adverse event reporting required by a new law. In 2010 and 2011, 84 such adverse events were reported in the Granite State, with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center accounting for 20% of these events. 2012 figures are still being compiled. According to the Union Leader, “Dr. George T. Blike, the chief quality and value officer at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said the hospital had more reports because it treats more patients, does the most surgeries and serves the sickest patients. . .In 2010, Dartmouth-Hitchcock reported one wrong surgical procedure, three foreign objects left inside a patient, two serious bedsores and one fall. In 2011, DHMC reported two surgeries on the wrong body part, one wrong procedure, one foreign object left inside a patient, one medication error and five serious bedsores.” Two NH hospitals were fined $2,000 each for failing to complete the reports in a timely fashion. These were discovered after a consumer complaint was filed. To be reportable, some events – such as falls, medication errors, restraints and bedsores – must have caused serious impairment for at least seven days or death. Others, such as surgery errors, must automatically be reported. For purposes of comparison, Maine hospital reported 163 adverse events in 2011. The goal of adverse event reporting is to increase transparency and accountability. In addition, such reporting may assist hospitals to determine the cause of the adverse event and find ways to avoid them in the future.

Holly Haines