High Value Health Care

Why the federal government is proposing to keep hospital patient safety data secret, and why consumers are pushing back.

Hospital Ward Beds by Adhy Savala on Unsplash
Hospital Ward Beds by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) collects important patient safety information from hospitals – like whether patients die from bed sores, have a fall that results in hip fractures and whether surgical patients get sepsis, a deadly infection. CMS publishes that data and even lowers payments to poor performing hospitals by 1% This policy helps patients by exposing poor care and incentivizes hospitals to do more to avoid these preventable harms.  

But now CMS is proposing to continue to keep that data secret. They will “suppress” some of these key measures – acknowledging that patient care has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and they don’t want to penalize hospitals struggling with workforce shortages and strained systems. But why should we worry about embarrassing the hospitals? It’s their job to respond to challenges and put the patients first. Not all hospitals have failed to keep their standards high, so it can be done. We’ll be submitting comments to block the new rule and you should as well. Deadline Jun 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Adhy Savala on Unsplash

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