Why the Federal Government Stopped Reporting Certain Medical Errors

Just this month the federal government stopped its public disclosure of certain medical errors aka (hospital acquired conditions or HAC). The errors which are no longer reported by the government include leaving foreign obejects in patients’ bodies, air embolisms, and giving a patient the wrong type of blood. According to USA Today, “The change, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denied last year that it was making, means people are out of luck if they want to search which hospitals cause high rates of problems such as air embolisms — air bubbles that can kill patients when they enter veins and hearts — or giving people the wrong blood type. CMS removed data on eight of these avoidable “hospital acquired conditions” (HACs) on its hospital comparison site last summer but kept it on a public spreadsheet that could be accessed by quality researchers, patient-safety advocates and consumers savvy enough to translate it. As of this month, it’s gone. Now researchers have to calculate their own rates using claims data.” The government contends that it will provide more information to the consumer. However, patient safety advocates are concerned that the method by which the information is reported will be confusing and difficult to decipher. This is a step backward for patient safety and transparency. Consumers have a right to access this information to protect themselves in making sound healthcare decisions.