Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Website lets patients see how their hospital compares when it comes to patient safety
Patients can now see how hospitals in their area compare to others when it comes to surgical complications, infections and potentially avoidable deaths. Medicare is publishing the patient safety ratings "as the first step toward paying less to institutions" that provide inferior care, writes Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News.
Medicare's Hospital Compare website evaluates facilities on how often their patients have complications like a collapsed lung, a blood clot after surgery or an accidental tear or cut. The measures "also include specific death rates for patients who had breathing problems after surgery, had an operation to repair a weakness in the abdominal aorta and had a treatable complication after an operation," Rau writes.
Publishing the information is the first step to paying hospitals for their performance, rather than for each procedure, part of the federal health-reform law. "Over time, hospitals with the lowest quality — as judged by a variety of metrics, not just the new patient safety measures — will be at risk to lose up to 2 percent of their regular Medicare reimbursements," Rau notes.
"This is pulling the curtain back on preventable health care harm to older Americans," said Rosemary Gison, co-author of The Treatment Traps. "These are really good things to know. We are really getting into the meat of what can happen to patients in hospitals." (Read more)