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Despite requirements, medical mistakes remain unreported

Pennsylvania has spent a significant amount of time revamping its reporting requirements for hospital errors. However, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report (HHS), hospitals across the country are ignoring state requirements for reporting of errors where patients may have been harmed.

Part of the problem concerning reporting of errors is that such reporting is loosely regulated. Instead of information technology and sharing becoming a means for the medical industry to self-police its own industry, it now it now seems apparent that hospitals and doctors cannot always be trusted to actually report medical and surgical errors.

There has long been a problem with medical providers not reporting medical mistakes. There is really little excuse as to why such errors are not being reported considering the new information technology that hospitals have available to organize such records online. Continued requirements made by the HHS are likely to become even more stringent, but the fact that hospitals are ignoring such requirements indicates that the HHS may not have enough teeth to handle this matter.

It is for reasons such as this that clients and their attorneys continually are filing medical malpractice claims against doctors and hospitals. Legislation simply does not appear to be enough to correct this problem.

There does need to be transparency in the medical industry when it comes to doctor and hospital mistakes. As things stand, we cannot be sure of how many doctor and hospital errors are being committed seeing that requirements to report such errors are being ignored.

Source: Kaiser Health News, "HHS Report: Hospitals Fall Short in Meeting Error Reporting Requirements," July 20, 2012

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