Check out this article in Sunday’s New Hampshire Union Leader observing that New Hampshire, unlike 27 other states, “does not require hospitals to report serious, preventable medical errors to the state, the patient or to the family left behind if the patient dies as a result of the mistake.”
Luckily, steps are being taken to help reverse the trend. As we’ve been reporting, Medicare has stopped footing the bill for so-called “never events” like leaving surgical objects inside people or giving them the wrong type of blood.
And New Hampshire’s Medicaid financial director, Marilee Nihan, told the Leader that beginning this December, hospitals filing Medicaid claims will have to specify if the diagnosis existed upon admission. “That will allow us to analyze what kind of errors we have and…whether the need for treatment was present on admission or acquired during the hospital stay,” said Nihan.
Still, the trend toward improving patient safety by holding hospitals accountable for their mistakes has its detractors. Chief executive of Concord Hospital, Mike Green, bemoaned the fact that requiring such additional reporting would be “an additional burden to hospitals.”
Then again, given that 98,000 people die in hospitals due to medical errors each year, we’re hoping that Mr. Green, and medical professionals like him, can dig deep and find the muscle to carry that extra “burden.”