Obama doesn't favor mandatory medical mistake reporting

More or less in keeping with rules that already exist on the state level, President Obama favors a national reporting system for hospital-acquired infections, but doesn't want to see all medical mistakes compiled in a national database.

Is this something the public ought to consider a problem? According to an investigation by Hearst Newspapers, perhaps so. Hearst reporters note that though almost 200,000 people die every year from medical errors and hospital infections in the U.S., there's no central effort to track these mistakes.

Obama has noted that reporting all errors may not make sense because for one thing, it's not always clear that problems are clear-cut errors rather than mix-ups or problems in communication. However, some observers suggests that Obama has sidestepped arguments over creating such a database, since doing so would alienate the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association--both of which he needs to get his reform program passed.

Still, it's worth noting that under his administration, CMS has established procedures for cutting pay to facilities that make preventable errors when caring for Medicare beneficiaries, and probably will do so for Medicaid providers, as well.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this San Francisco Examiner piece