Pennsylvania had 169 newborn injuries and deaths last year

New data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority found that infant injuries and deaths nearly doubled in 2022, according to a May 25 report from PennLive.

Of the 169 reported serious events, 15 resulted in deaths, the authority told the news outlet. Though to further analyze these events and provide actionable ways to lower the rates going forward, it requires some additional data, which hospitals have been reluctant to report. 

The safety authority was formed in 2022 and has 11 governor-appointed members. Its patient safety reporting database contains more than 4 million event reports, which it claims is one of the largest databases in the world. Hospitals are required to report adverse events to the authority, but can do so anonymously. Even still, regarding infant injuries and deaths, hospitals have resisted providing some of the data it needs to analyze and identify opportunities for prevention efforts to lower these instances, according to PennLive.

"We would like to conduct this analysis as soon as possible in order to identify preventable harm and advise healthcare facilities how to avoid that harm in the future," Regina Hoffman, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority told the news outlet. 

Some of the hospitals' hesitancy around providing all information the authority needs to conduct further analysis is because "there are separate federal and state laws that protect peer-review investigations from disclosure to protect the integrity of that process," a spokesperson from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania shared with Becker's. Until now, the authority has not asked for information like this, they explained.

Hospitals are required to report adverse events, but are also given protections as long as they comply with certain standards in addressing and learning from the events themselves. 

It is because of this that the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania is somewhat at odds with the state's patient safety authority over the issue, according to PennLive

The authority initially asked hospitals to provide internal investigation information, medical information about the infant cases, and preventative actions taken. After receiving pushback, it watered down its ask to simply a fillable form that still included a few questions related to the above, but hospitals still objected to some of the requested info, the news outlet reported.

A spokesperson for the association told PennLive it has been "working with member hospitals on recommendations that we will share with the PSA for how hospitals can provide input into data collection processes so that the PSA receives the information it needs to investigate neonatal intensive care and other patient safety-related trends."

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