Hospital safety advocates believe that the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be expanded. At a recent Senate subcommittee hearing, experts testified that the CDC should play a greater role in quality of patient care in an effort to improve outcomes and prevent medical errors.
There are as many as 400,000 annual deaths as a result of preventable medical mistakes in hospitals throughout the United States. Clearly, more needs to be done in order to protect patients and reduce the chance that a person will lose his life in a hospital. If you or a loved one is a victim of a medical error, contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer for help pursuing a claim for compensation.
Can the CDC Help Prevent Medical Errors
According to Health Leaders Media, the CDC has been effective at helping to reduce the incidents of healthcare associated infections. The CDC could expand its efforts to also address other top issues compromising patient care in hospitals such as medication errors and venous thromboembolism.
The senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medical urged the senate to "charge the CDC with developing monitoring and transparently reporting incident rates on the top causes of harm." The National Hospital Safety Network already collects and publicizes data on hospital-acquired infections, so requiring broader reporting of more types of problems in hospitals could be a simple step that would force hospitals to improve care and lower medical error rates.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America and the federal government is currently not doing enough to help bring down the number of patients killed by negligence. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the extent of the risks and they do not have enough information to allow them to shop around for a safer hospital.
Federal requirements are currently very limited and there is no way to ensure that healthcare quality and cost measures are being accurately reported by healthcare providers. Some states require data on surgical infections to be published, but most don't and so patients are left unable to make informed choices. Establishing a system for reporting on healthcare cost and quality similar to the system that the Securities and Exchange Act established for the banking system could help to improve accountability.
Hospitals are also not encouraged or forced to share information with each other. This means that when a hospital does solve a problem or develop a novel way to improve patient outcomes, the new development usually remains within that particular facility and the healthcare system as a whole does not benefit from the innovation.
The goal of the hospital safety experts is to develop sufficient reporting requirements and incentives that apply across the board to all facilities so that the "CEO of the hospital is lying awake at night worrying about patient safety." If the CDC and the federal government can make changes to increase accountability and allow patients to be better informed, hopefully patient care will be improved and the number of annual deaths due to errors can decrease.
For more information about how a medical malpractice attorney in New York can help you with your medical malpractice case, contact Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC. Call 212-736-0979 to schedule a free consultation today.