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Hospitals only report 14 percent of medical errors

Shocking truth about hospital error reporting

When you go to a hospital, you want to trust you’re in good hands. You want your doctors and nurses working together to maintain a clean and safe environment in which you can be sure you’re receiving top-notch care.

Unfortunately, that’s simply not the truth.

And the degree to which that’s not the truth is simply shocking.

A new report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services had me absolutely floored–and hoping I don’t have to go anywhere near a hospital anytime soon.

The report finds that only a dismal 14 percent of “patient harm events” experienced by Medicare beneficiaries are ever reported to the Quality Assessment and Performance program as required for participation in the Medicare program. That’s right–the vast majority of incidents in which a patient is harmed at a hospital fly completely under the radar.

In fact, 61 percent of patient harm events were met with a shrug, as staff members figured they weren’t worth reporting.

That’s bad enough, right? But oh, it gets worse. Even when they took the trouble to report such events, hospitals overall made few policy changes to try to keep them from happening again. All while administrators claimed to “rely heavily” on their reporting systems to identify and fix problems.

That’s simply shameful. Hospitals are far from making the grade when it comes to tracking and reporting infections and errors–all the while, one in four hospital patients are harmed by such infections and errors.

Safety just doesn’t seem to be a priority. Clearly, reporting privately to a government agency isn’t working. The public needs to know what is going on in our nation’s hospitals. Being kept in the dark is killing us–but hospital administrators just don’t seem to care.

P.S. Sure, it provides a nice cozy glow, but should you blow out that candle? Keep reading.

Sources:
“Hospital Incident Reporting Systems Do Not Capture Most Patient Harm Complete Report,” US Department of Health and Human Services (oig.hhs.gov)