CMS reverses decision, will publish hospital error data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reversed its August decision to stop publicly reporting data on several hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) and will resume public reporting of data on HACs such as foreign objects left in patients' bodies, according to USA Today.

CMS told the publication it will publish data on eight more HACs on its website. "We are working to make it available as a public-use file for researchers and others who are interested in the data," CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told USA Today. "It's been requested, so we will make it available."

Last summer, CMS removed the data from its Hospital Compare site but kept them on a public spreadsheet available to patient-safety advocates and quality researchers, but last month it removed them completely. In addition to foreign objects, HACs removed from the site included air embolisms and giving people the wrong blood type. When CMS releases the data, it will not be part of Hospital Compare but rather used for other researchers and safety ratings, according to the article.

The data will not be available until later in the year, Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder told USA Today, but the group will likely incorporate it into its ratings next spring. Binder praised the decision, saying CMS' "commitment to transparency" is "good news for the public."

The decision comes as pressure builds on both regulators and healthcare providers to improve on transparency, one of three policy recommendations for healthcare the CEO group Business Roundtable issued last week, according to USA Today. Caesar's Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman, chairman of the Business Roundtable's health and retirement committee, recommended healthcare consumers take precautions such as seeking a second opinion when considering elective procedures and looking into the infection rates of hospitals before they schedule a procedure.

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