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Required Public Reporting Of Serious Hospital-Acquired Infections At Risk

When one seeks medical help for a chronic illness or an emergency, being an informed consumer is important. Wisely choosing one’s doctor and hospital can be the key to successful treatment.

That’s why we are so troubled by the latest plan by the federal government. The proposed plan would put an end to public reporting of many hospital-acquired infections. The potential impact of this plan on public safety cannot be overstated. Hospital-acquired infections include the “super bug” MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus) and the development of post-operative sepsis and surgical site infections.

HOSPITAL-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS CAN HAVE SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS

According to an article in USA Today , more than 600,000 hospital patients contract an infection each year in the U.S., and many of those cause profound suffering, long-term injuries, and even death. For example, sepsis (the body’s overwhelming response to infection) alone accounts for 270,000 deaths a year.

If this new plan from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalized, it will set a dangerous precedent and prove to be a giant step backwards for patient care. Reported incidence of hospital-acquired infections would be removed from CMS’ Hospital Compare website that was established as part of the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration.

PATIENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO RESEARCH HOSPITALS AND THEIR RATINGS

Hospital-acquired infections must continue to be reported and monitored . "It's amazing that anyone would allow the hospitals to become less transparent," says Gene Leonard, whose wife Carol died after contracting a strep infection and then sepsis while hospitalized.

Leonard feels that publicity surrounding infection rates and other patient safety information "needs to be more pronounced." Even though two of the Leonard's three daughters are doctors, and one of them conducted online research about the surgeon, they did not research the hospital because of the relatively minor nature of the procedure – Mrs. Leonard’s specific procedure is known as a "clean" surgery because it carries such a low risk of infection due to contamination. If the family knew of the hospital’s poor ratings on CMS, they could have made different choices.

If this new rule becomes effective, important information about serious infections, as well as serious medical errors and acts of malpractice, will go unreported. The change will also incentivize hospitals to simply not report serious infections and errors, as they are currently required to do, in order to avoid financial penalties.

So, what can you do to help ensure that patient safety remains a top priority? You can contact your regulators or sign Leapfrog’s letter to CMS protesting this ridiculous plan.

If you contracted a hospital-acquired infection that resulted in a catastrophic injury, contact our skilled Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys today

At The Eisen Law Firm , our Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys have helped injured medical negligence victims since 1976. We work hard to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve as allowed by Ohio law. To schedule your free consultation with our attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online There are deadlines in place which limit how long injured claimants have to file medical negligence cases, so contact us as soon as possible.