Hospitals' mistakes are going unreported

Despite laws in Pa. and N.J. aimed at reducing errors, compliance is spotty, experts say.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that hospitals in PA and NJ are likely not reporting mistakes as required by each state’s Department of Health. For several years now, hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been required to report medical mistakes and serious complications to state agencies charged with reducing medical errors. But some hospitals aren't fully complying, undermining efforts to improve patient safety, experts say.

In New Jersey, five of the state's 80 hospitals failed to report a single preventable mistake last year, officials said. In Pennsylvania, some facilities didn't report any serious events or even the near misses that might have harmed patients. Twenty-six states require hospitals to report mistakes, and by next year Massachusetts, California and Minnesota will make the reports public.

Click here for the article in the Inquirer. (SOURCES: HCPro Accreditation Connection , http://www.hcpro.com, September 15, 2008; The Philadelphia Inquirer [Goldstein] , http://www.philly.com/inquirer, September 12, 2008)