CMS drops proposal to reduce public reporting of hospital infections, safety issues

CMS will publicly disclose hospital errors, injuries and infections it proposed removing from one of its public reporting programs, the agency said in a new rule published August 2.

Under the rule, CMS will collect safety data from hospitals through two Obamacare payment programs, even though it does not have a way to collect and publicly report data through the programs. 

The information will be published on Hospital Compare and available in a downloadable database. The reports will include dates and details of various safety incidents reported through the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, including rates of Clostridium difficile, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and sepsis after surgery.

The American Hospital Association previously urged the Trump administration to stop publicly disclosing this data in the proposed rule. 

In a December 2016 letter to then President-elect Donald Trump, the American Hospital Association asked him to remove measures added to CMS programs in the last two years, USA Today reports. AHA CEO Richard Pollack said measures that financially penalize hospitals for safety problems should be removed from the programs.  

Leapfrog sent a letter to CMS in June, calling the proposal a threat to transparency in hospitals and urging the agency share the information on infection rates and safety incidents.

"These kill a lot of people and patients deserve to know how hospitals are doing in preventing them," Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog, told USA Today.

Along with publicly reporting safety data, CMS said it is also working to improve transparency related to other survey reports, including for hospital accrediting organizations.

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