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Medicare releases data on hospital errors

St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 7, 2011
Medicare now offers some information on medical errors to allow patients to compare hospitals' safety records. The government health plan officially released data Wednesday on eight serious and preventable medical errors that occurred at more than 4,700 hospitals nationwide. Since 2008, Medicare has not reimbursed hospitals for the care incurred by the events—including air bubbles in the bloodstream, falls, bedsores, infusions with the wrong blood type, urinary tract infections, blood infections, uncontrolled blood-sugar levels and foreign objects left in the body after surgery. "Any potentially preventable complication of care is unacceptable," said Donald Berwick, MD, Medicare administrator, in a statement. "We at (Medicare) are working together with the hospital and consumer community to bring hospital acquired conditions into the forefront and do all we can to eliminate harm from the very healthcare system intended to heal us."

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