Hospital withholds patient safety report, cites legal woes

In a move away from patient safety and transparency, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is withholding a federally mandated patient safety report for fear of lawsuits, reported The Dallas Morning News. On Monday, the hospital's board of managers met with an attorney and decided not to disclose the report on improving patient safety that it promised.

"Make no mistake, though - we are taking the report and its findings to heart," the board said in a statement, noted the Dallas Business Journal.

After multiple reported patient safety breaches, Parkland last fall reached an agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for corrective actions to stay open.

As part of that agreement, Parkland hired consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal Healthcare Industry Group for almost $7 million to conduct outside safety monitoring. The safety monitors produced the report in question after almost three months of hospital-wide inspection, noted the Morning News.

They recommended immediate improvements for 15 departments, according to an Associated Press article last month. Those areas include outpatient clinics, inpatient critical care, radiology, the laboratory and even food services.

In January, Parkland's interim CEO Thomas Royer said the hospital would make the monitors' report public after CMS approval. But after meeting with legal counsel, the hospital changed its tune, citing concerns over civil rights litigation, noted the Morning News.

The federal agency hasn't decided whether it will release the safety monitors' report.

For more:
- read the Dallas Morning News article (subscription required)
- here's the Dallas Business Journal article
- read the AP article