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Illinoisans may have less information about their hospitals

Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had denied that such changes were taking place, the government is taking away access to information related to how often certain types of mistakes are made in hospitals. This will have the effect of not allowing patients to research which hospitals have a higher rate of errors or which errors that they may make.

The information is scheduled to be removed in August 2014 after being made available only to quality researches and others who could decipher the data made available in spreadsheet format since the middle of 2013. Previously, information such as whether hospitals left foreign objects in patients or made mistakes that led to other avoidable hospital-acquired conditions was made available on the CMS Hospital Compare website for anyone to access.

However, the CMS believes that there is better information available through a partnership with the National Quality Forum. The NQF provides a uniform set of data that is meant to be used to determine which hospitals get more or less money from government programs such as Medicare. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals that have the highest frequency of hospital-acquired conditions, such as sepsis or hip fractures, receive up to 1 percent less in Medicare reimbursements.

Those who suffer a serious injury as the result of an error by a doctor, surgeon or other medical professional may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A medical malpractice attorney may assist in filing the suit in a timely manner, taking statements from those involved and possibly negotiating a settlement in lieu of a trial. Medical malpractice attorneys may be able to win compensation for lost wages and medical bills as well as punitive damages or long-term care needs such as physical therapy or an in-home nurse.

Source: USA Today, "Feds stop public disclosure of many serious hospital errors", Jayne O'Donnell, August 06, 2014

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