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How CMS Makes Quality Data Public While Still Keeping It Secret

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 26, 2013

The report says three of the eight HACs—foreign object retention after surgery, air embolism, and blood incompatibility—"have very low reliability on the basis of their extreme rarity in reported data."

The fourth and fifth HACs, poor glycemic control and falls and trauma, "exhibit low reliability over any of the time periods presented," the report says.

The last three HACs, catheter associated urinary-tract infections, pressure ulcers, and vascular catheter-associated infections, "have moderate reliability thresholds" because denominators are usually large and "they exhibit moderate reliability for half or more of hospitals" when the period reported is at least 21 months, the report says.

The Leapfrog Group, which issues a "hospital safety scorecard" twice a year that grades hospitals from A to F, and numerous chapters of national Business Groups on Health, disagree vehemently with the AHA, says Leah Binder, Leapfrog's President and CEO.

Her organization uses the HAC statistics to compile its twice-yearly hospital safety scores.

"No measure is perfect," Binder says. "And there is not a single measure that's ever been endorsed or used for which there wasn't enormous amount of debate about the scientific merits, the perfection, or imperfection."

Binder, who in July authored an article saying the AHA was trying to block data transparency, headlined “Bone-Chilling Mistakes Hospitals Make and Why They Don't Want You to Know,” says the hospital advocacy group just doesn't get it.

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