KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospital Error Rates Climb In California

Hospital error rates in California climbed by more than 300 cases last fiscal year after a 2006 law required public reporting of hospital errors in that state, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.

In all there were "1,538 serious and preventable events reported by California hospitals for the fiscal year ended June 30. … The numbers are up from the first year, when 1,224 incidents were reported statewide and 93 in the four-county region." Medicare has stopped paying for some errors such as when the wrong surgery is performed and "reduced payments to hospitals if patients got complications from a preventable mistake." The Institute of Medicine in a landmark report a decade ago reported that "up to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year due to preventable mistakes" (Robertson, 1/8).

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