Changes in CMS Reporting

Four hundred and forty thousand people die every year from preventable medical errors. According to the Journal of Patient Safety, this figure is up from 98,000 deaths since 1999, making preventable medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States. Furthermore, research suggests that one in three patients admitted to the hospital will experience some medical error during their stay and such errors will cost the United States tens of billions of dollars each year. Unfortunately, however, earlier this year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discreetly stopped reporting this information.

Sometime during the middle of 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped releasing information related to the occurrence of medical errors at heath care facilities, which they call “hospital-acquired conditions.” These conditions include such things as leaving a sponge or other foreign object inside a patient’s body and giving a patient the wrong blood type. Patients used to be able to access this information on the CMS Hospital Compare webpage.

Fortunately for patients, federal regulators will reverse their decision and once again provide the information to the public. According to CMS spokeman Aaron Albright, “We are working to make it available as a public-use file for researchers and others who are interested in the data. It’s been requested, so we will make it available.” This is good news for those who might be getting elective surgery, for example, as they can better assess different hospitals in order to find the best fit.

Medical errors-and preventable ones at that-are not altogether uncommon these days. As a prospective patient, you should diligently research the different facilities in your area to best determine where you should seek medical attention and where you will receive the best care. However, if you or a loved one experienced some medical error during a recent hospital stay, contact The Higgins Firm today to discuss your legal options.

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