Hospital patient safety under a spotlight

Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2011
Over strong objections from the hospital industry, the government has published data about things that can go wrong in hospitals—falls, objects left behind during surgeries, bloodstream or urinary infections associated with catheters, incompatible blood infusions, serious bed sores and more. The information is the first hospital-specific patient safety data to be released nationally by Medicare. Published last week, it comes from a review of hospital bills submitted for elderly and disabled patients between October 2008 and June 2010. All of Chicago's top medical centers appear on the list of hospitals with safety issues, to one extent or another. For instance, the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center all reported higher-than-average numbers of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections associated with catheters. Officials at each medical center questioned the government's method of counting infections while acknowledging mistakes in data they submitted to Medicare.

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