Chicago Tribune and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Highlight New Patient Safety Data

The Chicago Tribune and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday both examined data published by HHS as part of its hospital compare database at http://hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/.

According to CMS, the data show “show how often HACs occurred for Medicare fee-for-service claims from October 2008 through June 2010.”

Both articles focus on the fact that this information is being made available to patients for the first time ever.  The hope among health care policy experts is that this will lead to improved patient safety and quality of care in hospitals. 

The Chicago Tribune focused on hospitals in the Chicago area and noted:

“Of 1 million elderly and disabled Medicare patients hospitalized annually, 13.5 percent — or 135,000 people — experience an adverse event, with associated costs of $4.4 billion, according to a November 2010 report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article noted “Nearly 20 patients in Wisconsin hospitals each week get bloodstream infections from the central lines used to deliver fluids, medication and blood.  Two to four of them will die.”

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