Hospital Ward Beds by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

UPDATE: Why the federal government is proposing to keep hospital patient safety data secret, and why consumers are pushing back.

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Patricia Kelmar
Director, Health Care Campaigns

Author: Patricia Kelmar

Director, Health Care Campaigns

 

Started on staff: 1986-1991; 2020
B.A., magna cum laude, Boston College; J.D., high honors, George Washington University Law School

Patricia directs the health care campaign work for U.S. PIRG and provides support to our state offices for state-based health initiatives. Her prior roles include senior director of health policy with the National Consumers League, senior policy advisor at NJ Health Care Quality Institute, and consumer advocate at NJPIRG. She serves on the board of the Patient and Caregiver Engagement Advisory Group for the National Quality Forum. Patricia enjoys walks along the Potomac and sharing her love of books with her friends and family around the world.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) collects important patient safety information from hospitals - like whether patients die from bed sores, have a fall that results in hip fractures and whether surgical patients get sepsis, a deadly infection. CMS publishes that data and even lowers payments to poor performing hospitals by 1% This policy helps patients by exposing poor care and incentivizes hospitals to do more to avoid these preventable harms.  

But now CMS is proposing to continue to keep that data secret. They will “suppress” some of these key measures - acknowledging that patient care has taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and they don’t want to penalize hospitals struggling with workforce shortages and strained systems. But why should we worry about embarrassing the hospitals? It’s their job to respond to challenges and put the patients first. Not all hospitals have failed to keep their standards high, so it can be done. We’ll be submitting comments to block the new rule and you should as well. Deadline Jun 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Adhy Savala on Unsplash

Patricia Kelmar
Director, Health Care Campaigns

Author: Patricia Kelmar

Director, Health Care Campaigns

 

Started on staff: 1986-1991; 2020
B.A., magna cum laude, Boston College; J.D., high honors, George Washington University Law School

Patricia directs the health care campaign work for U.S. PIRG and provides support to our state offices for state-based health initiatives. Her prior roles include senior director of health policy with the National Consumers League, senior policy advisor at NJ Health Care Quality Institute, and consumer advocate at NJPIRG. She serves on the board of the Patient and Caregiver Engagement Advisory Group for the National Quality Forum. Patricia enjoys walks along the Potomac and sharing her love of books with her friends and family around the world.