Why CMS wants to conceal hospital safety data

A July 7 Kaiser Health News report sheds more light on CMS' rationale for its proposed plan to obscure hospital safety data from the public — a move that has been met with strong opposition from patient safety groups and other stakeholders.  

CMS is proposing to suppress data reported by hospitals as part of a composite measure of 10 serious and potentially fatal care complications, including pressure ulcers, falls that break a hip, lung collapses, blood clots and postoperative sepsis. 

CMS Chief Medical Officer Lee Fleisher, MD, said these metrics were not designed to account for how pandemic-related disruptions, such as patient surges and staff shortages, would affect health systems. 

"Safety, transparency and quality of care of patients is not enhanced by the use of skewed or inaccurate data, and, in fact, could result in negative consequences for patients," he told KHN. "CMS wants the public to have complete trust in the data and will make data on quality available when we have a high confidence in its credibility and accuracy."

Patient safety organizations such as The Leapfrog Group have vehemently opposed the plan, saying it will put consumers in the dark about hospital safety. 

Read the full report here.

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