The AHA specifically wants the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to remove public reporting on Hospital Compare of nine so-called hospital-acquired conditions, sometimes called "never events," such as forgetting to remove a metal retractor after surgery.
Binder referred to an incident in which surgeons forgot to remove one such surgical tool "the size of a crowbar" from a patient's abdomen. I can, from my newspaper days, recall a similar incident I wrote about involving a 14" by 2" metal retractor left inside a surgical patient.
The hospital industry wants to "suppress" information like this, Binder says. So far, CMS has said it is not taking these measures off its website, although a report this spring indicated they might.
Here's an excerpt from Binder's blog:
We used these nine measures in our Hospital Safety Scores —letter grades assigned to more than 2,500 general hospitals warning consumers of their propensity for deadly mistakes. We found that some hospitals have many more of these never events than others. And the public deserves to know which hospitals protect patients best.
"But the American Hospital Association (AHA) and its lobbyists disagree. They did not want hospital data on these never events, as well as some other terrible measures, publicly reported. They acknowledge these events happen, but they say the government wasn't measuring them in a way that's perfectly fair to hospitals."