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CMS Pauses Plans to Limit Public Knowledge of Medical and Surgical Harm at Hospitals During COVID-19 Pandemic

Healthcare industry watchdog Group Leapfrog says that if CMS suppresses the data “all of us will be in the dark on which hospitals put us most at risk”

For some time, hospitals and clinical laboratories have struggled with transparency regulation when it comes to patient outcomes, test prices, and costs. So, it is perplexing that while that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pushes for more transparency in the cost of hospital care and quality, the federal agency also sought to limit public knowledge of 10 types of medical and surgical harm that occurred in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And even though the CMS announced in its August 1 final rule (CMS-1771-F) that it was “pausing” its plans to suppress data relating to 10 measures that make up the Patient Safety and Adverse Events Composite (PSI 90), a part of the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program, it is valuable for hospital and medical laboratory leaders to understand what the federal agency was seeking to accomplish.

COVID-19’s Impact on Measure Data

Within its lengthy 2023 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long Term Care Hospitals Proposed Rule (CMS-1771-P), the federal agency cites the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) as a reason for the adjustment in public access to certain data.

According to USA Today, medical complications at hospitals such as pressure ulcers and falls leading to fractures would be suppressed in reports starting next year. Additionally, CMS “also would halt a program to dock the pay of the worst performers on a list of safety measures, pausing a years-long effort that links hospitals’ skill in preventing such complications to reimbursement,” Kaiser Health News reported.

The proposed rule’s executive summary reads in part, “Due to the impact of the COVID-19 PHE on measure data used in our value-based purchasing (VBP) programs, we are proposing to suppress several measures in the Hospital VBP Program and HAC Reduction Program … If finalized as proposed, for the FY 2023 program year, hospitals participating in the HAC Reduction Program will not be given a measure score, a Total HAC score, nor will hospitals receive a payment penalty.”

These 10 measures include:

  • PSI 03-Pressure Ulcer Rate
  • PSI 06-Iatrogenic Pneumothorax Rate
  • PSI 08-In Hospital Fall with Hip Fracture Rate
  • PSI 09-Perioperative Hemorrhage or Hematoma Rate
  • PSI 10-Postoperative Acute Kidney Injury Requiring Dialysis Rate
  • PSI 11-Postoperative Respiratory Failure Rate
  • PSI 12-Perioperative Pulmonary Embolism or Deep Vein Thrombosis Rate
  • PSI 13-Postoperative Sepsis Rate
  • PSI 14-Postoperative Wound Dehiscence Rate
  • PSI 15-Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture/Laceration Rate

The measures would not be accessible to the public or appear on the CMS Hospital Compare website, MedPage Today added.

“Those 10 events account for 25,000 preventable deaths and 94,000 incidents of patient harm in the US annually, according to recent analyses,” Fortune reported.

In a fact sheet, CMS noted that its intent in proposing the rule was neither to reward nor penalize providers at a time when they were dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, new safety protocols for staff and patients, and an unprecedented rise in inpatient cases.

Lee Fleisher, MD
“We want the public to have complete trust in the data and will only be providing data we have determined has a high confidence of credibility and accuracy,” said CMS Chief Medical Officer Lee Fleisher, MD (above), Director of the CMS Center for Clinical Standards and Quality in a statement, Axios reported. Clinical laboratory leaders would find it more difficult to compare the performance of their hospitals against peer hospitals, should this proposed rule take effect as written. (Photo copyright: Lee Fleisher.)

Groups Opposed to the CMS Proposal

Like healthcare costs, quality data need to be accessible to the public, according to a health insurance industry representative. “Cost data, in the absence of quality data, are at best meaningless, and at worst, harmful. We see this limitation on collection and publication of data about these very serious safety issues as a step backward,” Robert Andrews, JD, CEO, Health Transformation Alliance, told Fortune.

The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, DC-based non-profit watchdog organization focused on healthcare quality and safety, urged CMS to reverse the proposal. The organization said on its website that it had collected 270 signatures on letters to CMS.

“Dangerous complications, such as sepsis, kidney harm, deep bedsores, and lung collapse, are largely preventable yet kill 25,000 people a year and harm 94,000,” wrote the Leapfrog Group in a statement. “Data on these complications is not available to the public from any other source. If CMS suppresses this data, all of us will be in the dark on which hospitals put us most at risk.”

Leah Binder, Leapfrog President/CEO, told MedPage Today she is concerned the suppression of public reporting of safety data may continue “indefinitely” because CMS does not want “to make hospitals unhappy with them.”

AHA Voices Support

Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association noted that the CMS “has made this proposal to forgo calculating certain hospital bonuses and penalties due to the impact of the pandemic,” Healthcare Dive reported.

“We agree with CMS that it would be unfair to base hospital incentives and penalties on data that have been skewed by the unprecedented impacts of the pandemic,” said Akin Demehin, AHA Senior Director, Quality and Safety Policy, in a statement to Healthcare Dive.

Though CMS’ plans to limit public knowledge of medical and surgical complications have been put on hold, medical laboratory leaders will want to stay abreast of CMS’ next steps with this final rule. Suppression of hospital harm during a period of increased demand for hospital transparency could trigger a backlash with healthcare consumers.

Donna Marie Pocius


Related Information:

CMS Final Rule CMS-1771-F

CMS Announces Continued Public Reporting of PSI 90 and Commitment to Transparency

Patient Safety Advocate Cheers CMS’ Reversal on Quality Reporting, But Hospitals Say the Data Are No Good

Medicare Ditches Plan to Bury Hospital Safety Data Next Year

FY 2023 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospitals Proposed Rule (CMS-1771-P)

Groups Object to Medicare Push to Suppress Reporting of Harm Done to Patients at Hospitals

CMS Proposal to Suppress Hospital Safety Data Angers Advocates

Fact Sheet: FY 2023 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospitals Proposed Rule (CMS-1771-P)

Biden Administration Seeks to Suppress Hospital Safety Data

Lives Lost, Lives Saved: An Updated Comparative Analysis of Avoidable Deaths at Hospitals Graded by The Leapfrog Group

Patient Safety Indicators (PSI) Benchmark Data Tables, v2021

Hospitals Have Become Less Safe During the Pandemic; So Why Does the Government Want to Suppress Hospital Safety Data?

We Need Your Help: Don’t Let CMS Suppress 25,000 Deaths a Year in Hospitals

Leapfrog Raises Concerns About CMS Proposal to Suppress Patient Safety Data

CMS Ready to Add Three More Items to Never Events No-Pay Policy for Medical Errors

Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic, Medicare Officials Continue Push for Price Transparency by Pressuring Hospitals to Disclose Rates Negotiated with Private Payers

Medicare Officials Back Off a Proposal to Make Hospital Inspection Reports Publicly Available; CLIA Inspections of Medical Laboratories Are Still Not Public

The Joint Commission opposed the Medicare proposal, and patient advocate groups say rescinding it is a setback for hospital  transparency

Powerful interests arrayed against greater transparency in the performance of hospitals, physicians, and medical laboratories have stopped a proposed Medicare program that would have allowed the public to see the results of hospital inspections.

Stopped in its tracks was an effort by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make hospital accreditation inspection reports available for public viewing. Opposition to this program led CMS to withdraw its plan for heightened transparency.

CMS originally called the proposal “groundbreaking” in a National Public Radio (NPR) article. That’s because it would have enabled consumers to view reports that private accreditation organizations, such as The Joint Commission, complete after each inspection. Inspection reports contain information on errors and problems found during hospital surveys. CMS’ push for more transparency in hospital inspections is consistent with the healthcare industry’s trend toward open sharing of healthcare quality, price, and other data.

“We are proposing changes relating to transparency of accrediting organizations survey reports and plans of correction of providers and suppliers,” CMS officials wrote in a proposed rule published on April 28.

CMS Pulls Back Proposal to Make Hospital Survey Reports Public

But it was not to be. After receiving comments, CMS officials stated in early August that the agency had pulled back the proposal.

“CMS is committed to ensuring that patients have the ability to review the findings used to determine that a facility meets the health and safety standards required for Medicare participation. However, we believe further review, consideration, and refinement of this proposal is necessary to ensure that CMS establishes requirements, consistent with our statutory authority, that will inform patients and continue to support high quality care,” noted a CMS fact sheet.

Agencies Find Problems in Hospitals That Accreditors Do Not, CMS Declares

It’s against federal law for CMS to release data related to hospital inspections, Becker’s Hospital Review reported. And, as part of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), clinical laboratories must participate in inspections to ensure they qualify for Medicare and Medicaid payments. However, the inspection reports of the nation’s medical laboratories are not made public.

So, what motivated CMS to make healthcare organizations’ inspection information public? CMS noted that private accreditation organizations miss serious provider problems that state inspectors find in follow-up visits to hospitals, ProPublica explained.

In fact, state agency reviews of 103 hospitals in 2014 found 41 serious deficiencies, including 39 missed by the accreditors, noted the NPR article.

The chart above based on Johns Hopkins research was compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics and reported by The Washington Post. It shows that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the US. (Photo copyright: The Washington Post.)

“Right now, the public has very little information about the places where they’re putting their life on the line, and that’s just not acceptable. If [they are] a good place, what are they afraid of?” Rosemary Gibson, Senior Advisor at The Hastings Center, stated in the NPR article.

Reaction from Accreditors and Consumer Groups Differs

The Joint Commission opposed the CMS proposal. And, now, patient safety advocacy groups are disappointed about the decision by Medicare officials to rescind the proposed program.

“We believe the proposal will have significant detrimental consequences on our nation’s ability to continually improve the delivery of healthcare services,” stated Mark Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, Joint Commission President and Chief Executive Officer, in a June letter to CMS published partially in an HCPro blog post.

HCPro, a firm that aids organizations in accreditation, credentialing, and other needs, noted the following Joint Commission concerns about publicly shared survey reports in the blog post:

  • Providers may be less likely to be open about opportunities for improvement;
  • Accreditors could struggle to create new standards;
  • The number of non-accredited facilities may increase;
  • Accreditation may be devalued; and,
  • Costs to providers and accreditors would likely rise.

The Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ), another accreditation option for hospitals, also expressed concerns with the CMS proposal, according to the ProPublica report.

“Knowing that survey [inspection] reports are public knowledge will only incentivize hospitals and other healthcare entities to go back to the days of ‘hiding’ quality of care issues from accreditors, rather than working with us to improve the quality and safety of care rendered to patients,” CIHQ advised in the ProPublica article.

The Leapfrog Group, which bills itself as an advocate of hospital transparency, called the reversed proposal “a disappointing setback for healthcare transparency.”

In a statement, Leah Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leapfrog Group, noted, “We are disappointed to learn that the agency that runs Medicare (CMS) has reversed course on its proposal to require private accrediting organizations, such as the Joint Commission, to publicly release reports of problems they found in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The public deserves full transparency on how the healthcare industry performs.”

Clearly the public is calling for increased transparency in healthcare. As are many organizations and industry journals, such as the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), which presented a national award to Ellen Gabler, an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for her work covering weaknesses in inspections for clinical laboratories. (See Dark Daily, “Journalists Take Home Top National Awards for Their Work Covering Theranos and the Clinical Laboratory Industry,” May 16, 2016.)

Some Accreditation Information Available Online

So, for the time being, it appears that what is found during hospital inspections will stay within the inspection report and will not become available to the general public. However, with consumers expecting greater transparency and higher levels of service in all aspects of healthcare, the interest in public access to the quality performance of hospitals, physicians, clinical laboratories, and anatomic pathology groups will only increase.

Meanwhile, for patients interested in existing resources about provider quality, The Joint Commission has an online “find a gold star healthcare organization” quality check. Also, the American College of Surgeons publishes an online search for accredited facilities. And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers an online search for CLIA accredited labs.

—Donna Marie Pocius


Related Information:

Secret Data on Hospital Inspections May Become Public At Last

Proposed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Rule

Changes to the Application and Reapplication Procedures for National Accrediting Organizations

CMS Backs Off Proposal to Make Hospital Accredited Investigations Public; Five Things to Know

Accreditors Can Keep Their Hospital Inspection Reports Secret, Feds Decide

Joint Commission Comments on Proposed CMS Transparency Rule

Disappointing Setback for Healthcare Transparency

Journalists Take Home Top National Awards for Their Work Covering Theranos and the Clinical Laboratory Industry


Reference Pricing and Price Shopping Hold Potential Peril for Both Clinical Laboratories and Consumers

While multiple studies show reference pricing is an effective approach to reduce the cost of testing and procedures, medical laboratories and consumers alike must continue to focus on quality to ensure positive outcomes

The Dark Report in its September 2016 issue highlighted how reference pricing is positioned to become one of the biggest contributors to price erosion medical laboratories and pathology groups have faced in more than a decade. The issue featured details of a 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine outlining how Safeway’s use of reference pricing for clinical laboratory tests decreased laboratory spending for itself and employees by 32% between 2011 and 2013—a total savings of more than $2.5-million.

That issue of The Dark Report also highlights a similar use of reference pricing by CalPERS (California Public Retirement System) that involved hip and knee replacement surgeries. CalPERS saw a 30% reduction in the cost of these surgeries after 12 months.

These highly publicized efforts have fueled interest in how reference pricing might work for other businesses, insurers, and the US government. The 2014 Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) is already collecting private payer rates paid to laboratories for tests. This data will then be used to create new rate-based fee schedules in 2018.

Speaking with Joseph Burns, Managing Editor of The Dark Report, about the outcome and potential rise of reference pricing, study author James C. Robinson, PhD, of University of California Berkeley noted that, “Any discussion about how to contain inappropriate healthcare utilization is challenging. By contrast, significant price variation is the low-hanging fruit. Employers would much rather save money by having patients travel to cheaper clinical labs than get into some esoteric discussion about whether a clinical procedure is appropriate or not.”

Quality is Key to Both Avoiding Price Erosion and Improving Patient Outcomes

There’s no question that reference pricing has forever changed the landscape of clinical laboratory pricing. Paired with increased pricing transparency and easier access to pricing information through platforms such as Castlight Health, Healthcare Blue Book, and Change Healthcare Corporation, consumers and businesses can quickly compare prices across a range of service providers.

However, in April, Leah Binder, President and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, published an article in Forbes that highlights the potential downsides to price shopping for laboratory testing and medical care.

“Differences among providers in quality can eliminate any cost advantages,” stated Binder in the Forbes article. “Some purchasers assume they can get around this problem by targeting reference pricing only for procedures that don’t vary in quality. When quality is all the same, decisions can pivot on price alone. Unfortunately, no such procedures exist. Extreme variation is the hallmark of our healthcare system.”

As reference pricing continues to force more consumers to shoulder a portion of medical laboratory testing costs, prices for more expensive laboratories are likely to continue eroding unless they can convince consumers that their services are higher quality or produce better results. (Graphic copyright: California Public Retirement System.)

Binder cites a study in Spine Journal’s April 2017 issue regarding diagnostic error rates for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The study involved a 63-year-old woman seeking relief from low back pain. Over a three-week span, she received 10 different scans. These scans resulted in 49 different findings. Of these findings, none were repeated across all 10 scan reports provided to her physician.

“As a result,” the study’s authors concluded, “where a patient obtains his or her MRI examination, and which radiologist interprets the examination, may have a direct impact on radiological diagnosis, subsequent choice of treatment, and clinical outcome.”

Binder reinforced this, stating, “Purchasers should still pursue reference pricing and try to incorporate considerations of utilization and quality to the extent they have the data. Never assume any procedure is like a commodity—largely the same quality everywhere.”

High-Cost Medical Laboratories Likely to Face a Decision Between Volume or Price Erosion

A 2016 study by Health Care Cost Institute found the average pricing of 240 common medical services varied by as much as 200% between states. Within states, prices fluctuated as much as 300%.

Thus, for pathology groups and medical laboratories in the upper percentiles for their region, referencing pricing is likely to impact volume. Even if adoption of reference pricing by payers or self-insured business groups remains stable, price cuts due to PAMA loom on the horizon. As reported by Dark Daily in December 2016, price cuts to the Part B clinical laboratory fee schedule could add up to $400 million in reduced Medicare payments in 2018 alone.

This is particularly troublesome for hospital laboratory outreach programs, where Medicare patients commonly represent 40% to 70% of outreach lab volumes. The combination of reduced volume and reduced Medicare pricing could have dire financial consequences.

It will remain essential for medical laboratories to differentiate their services from those of lower-cost competitors to avoid volume and price erosion. Continuing to optimize test utilization, improving laboratory efficiency, and emphasizing the value of services rendered will help to further strengthen lab positions and reduce the impact of coming change.

—Jon Stone

Related Information:

Price Shopping Could Cut Employer Health Costs by 20%, but There’s a Catch

Variability in Diagnostic Error Rates of 10 MRI Centers Performing Lumbar Spine MRI Examinations on the Same Patient Within a 3-week Period

The Striking Variation of Commercial Healthcare Prices

Some States Pay Twice the Price for Health Care, Finds New Report

Association of Reference Pricing for Diagnostic Laboratory Testing with Changes in Patient Choices, Prices, and Total Spending for Diagnostic Tests

Coming PAMA Price Cuts to Medicare Clinical Lab Fees Expected to Be Heavy Financial Blow to Hospital Laboratory Outreach Programs

Volume XXIII No. 12 – September 6, 2016

Consumers Now Use Medical Cost Websites to Price Shop for Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests and Other Medical Procedures

Leapfrog Group CEO Wants Healthcare Professionals to Stop Rallying Behind Quality Measure Critics

Binder argues that groups opposing ‘value’ often diminish clinicians’ role in hospital quality and patient outcomes; clinical labs often have the data on the outcomes generated by different clinicians

As healthcare moves steadily toward a value-based reimbursement model, Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder is urging healthcare providers to rethink their opposition to quality measures and criteria that reward improved medical outcomes.

“Clinicians have a choice: Seize the momentum of the value movement to finally get rewarded for excellence, or recite tired political talking points that minimize your life’s work,” Binder stated in an editorial she penned for Modern Healthcare. “Value will succeed either way, but it will be so much better infused with the knowledge and gifts of practicing providers.”

Many clinical laboratory managers and pathologists know that the Leapfrog Group carries quite a bit of clout in healthcare. Its members include some of the largest corporations in the United States. Collectively, Leapfrog’s members provide health benefits to more than 37 million Americans in all 50 states, and spend tens of billions of dollars on healthcare each year, according to this 2009 Leapfrog Group Fact Sheet. This is why health insurers, hospitals, and physicians pay attention to Leapfrog’s programs and public statements.

“If all hospitals implemented just the first three of Leapfrog’s four ‘leaps’ (our recommended quality and safety practices): over 57,000 lives could be saved, more than 3 million medication errors could be avoided, and up to $12.0 billion could be saved each year,” states the fact sheet.

Physician Opposition to Value-based Reimbursement Models Will Backfire

Leapfrog’s Binder argues the value-based reimbursement movement will succeed for three reasons:

1. “Value” is enshrined in the Affordable Care Act, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now tying almost 6% of hospital Medicare reimbursement to performance, and Congress replacing the sustainable growth-rate (SGR) with a value-based formula.

2. Private insurers also are transitioning their payment models, with 40% of commercial payments linked to value, up from 9% a year earlier. In addition, consumers, who are paying more out of pocket, are increasingly sensitive to value.

3. Big data is enabling quality to be quantified. Binder pointed to the leadership of the National Quality Forum (NQF) and others in showing “we can defensibly measure the quality side of the value equation.”

Binder warns that arguments made in the name of clinicians to denounce specific quality measures can backfire. In particular, she pointed to a study published in the BMJ that concluded clinicians have little impact on the “standardized mortality ratio,” therefore they should not be held accountable for it.

“Here’s the damaging assumption in the study: The only way physicians or nurses improve patient survival is by avoiding killer mistakes. Surely clinical skill impacts mortality more than that,” Binder stated in her Modern Healthcare editorial.

Similarly, Binder pointed to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that also minimized the impact of clinicians. The study compared how United States hospitals scored on CMS composite safety measures versus alternative measures the researchers invented based on process quality composites. She summarized the findings as stating, “Some hospitals excel on the invented quality composites but fail on the CMS safety composite. Illogically, the researchers conclude that the CMS safety composite is flawed. One might just as well conclude that the researchers’ composites are flawed.”

“Ultimately, this paints a dismal portrait of individual clinicians. … If you excel on some but not all measures, the measures are wrong and you don’t excel at anything,” she stated.

Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder is urging healthcare professionals to embrace the move toward value-based reimbursement and rethink their opposition to quality measures that reward high-quality patient care. “Clinicians have a choice: Seize the momentum of the value movement to finally get rewarded for excellence, or recite tired political talking points that minimize your life’s work,” Binder says. (Photo copyright: Aaron Eckels/Crain’s Detroit Business.)

Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder is urging healthcare professionals to embrace the move toward value-based reimbursement and rethink their opposition to quality measures that reward high-quality patient care. “Clinicians have a choice: Seize the momentum of the value movement to finally get rewarded for excellence, or recite tired political talking points that minimize your life’s work,” Binder says. (Photo copyright: Aaron Eckels/Crain’s Detroit Business.)

Leapfrog Group Advocates Transparency for Both Insurers and Patients

The Leapfrog Group was formed in 2000, a year after the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) landmark report on medical errors, “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” in which the IOM estimated that preventable medical errors caused 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually, with an associated cost of $17 billion to $29 billion.

The watchdog organization operates out of Washington, D.C. and is made up of more than 170 of the nation’s largest purchasers of healthcare, including:



Lockheed Martin;

Marriot International;

University of Michigan; and

• the Florida Healthcare Coalition.

Through its annual hospital surveys and research, the non-profit urges insurers and patients to use transparency to improve the safety and quality of the healthcare system.

The Leapfrog Group’s movement for transparency has grown to include more than 1,700 hospitals that participate in its annual survey on safety, quality, and resource use. In 2015, a record 1,750 hospitals submitted a survey, representing 46% of hospitals nationwide. It also has focused attention on reducing early elective deliveries, launched a pay-for-performance program, and designed a Hospital Safety Score to help consumers to make better healthcare decision.

Providers Should Seek Transparency

While negotiations about quality measures have reached a fever pitch, Binder would like to see providers insist on transparency and accountability for their patients, a step she says would validate clinicians’ work and expertise.

“While thoughtful critiques of measures are important, politically-motivated denial of measures is destructive in unintended ways,” Binder stated in her editorial for Modern Healthcare. “It often follows the unfortunate pattern of these studies in assuming that providers perform at essentially the same level of quality and/or their actions can’t be linked to patient survival or healing,” she observed.

“If all physicians and nurses believed their work had such modest impact, the burnout problem might be even worse,” continued Binder. “People who choose a career in healthcare tend to be bright, competitive and caring, and they won’t last long if they believe their talents make virtually no difference.”

As noted above, since the Leapfrog Group represents many of the major purchasers of healthcare, Binder’s recent comments should grab the attention of pathologists and clinical laboratory executives. They would do well to anticipate continued calls for more quality and more measurement of quality in healthcare as the movement toward value-based reimbursement marches on. Contributing value to hospitals, physicians, and payers is quickly becoming the new paradigm for clinical laboratories and pathology groups.

—Andrea Downing Peck

Related Information:

Clinicians Must Push Back Against Critics Challenging the Role of Quality Measures

Standardized Mortality Ratios Should Not Be Used to Benchmark Hospitals, Study Concludes

Leapfrog Group Fact Sheet

Concerns About Using the Patient Safety Indicator-90 Composite in Pay-for-Performance Programs

To Err Is Human: Building a Better Health System

OIG Estimates that 1 in 7 Medicare Patients are Injured or Killed by Healthcare Providers

That’s not news to pathologists, who often see how physicians mis-order or mis-interpret clinical laboratory tests

Each month, one out of seven Medicare patients is injured or killed by their healthcare providers. These medical errors cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. And, that doesn’t even include the cost of follow-up care for the injured patients who survive.

Those and other conclusions are part of a recently released study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) titled “Adverse Events in Hospitals: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries.”