To keep making progress in patient safety, we need to know about all the health care errors being made – even the really embarrassing ones that occur less frequently. That’s why it’s good to read that federal regulators are reversing course and will resume publicly releasing data on certain types of less-common hospital mistakes. CMS says it will make data on eight "hospital-acquired conditions" (HACs) available on its website, including giving the wrong blood type or leaving foreign objects in bodies after surgery. The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization that publishes hospital safety ratings, expects to incorporate this information in ratings that come out in the spring. Employers can use the CMS data and Leapfrog ratings to compare the stats on their most-utilized hospitals to national norms -- and take it a step further and request a report from their health plans on the incidence of HACs among their covered population. This could help inform decisions about which hospitals should be included in an ACO or narrow network, or simply identify problems that should be brought to the attention of the network provider.
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