Connecticut hospitals reporting fewer adverse events; many go uninvestigated

Members of the public in the state of Connecticut are being increasingly kept in the dark about hospital's adverse events, reports the Hartford Courant.

According to the Courant, under the state's "adverse event" reporting law of 2002, hospitals are required to inform the state Department of Public Health when patients suffer certain serious unintended harm. The legislation was intended to compel hospitals to improve care and help patients assess the quality of the state's medical facilities.

But since that law was revised five years ago, the mishap at Bridgeport Hospital, and thousands of other incidents that injured or killed patients, have been hidden from the public by hospitals and the state health department. From minor accidents to deadly errors, public access to hospitals' adverse events has fallen 90 percent since the legislature redrafted the law.

Hospitals now report a fraction of the mishaps they once revealed; Bridgeport Hospital, for example, concluded that Faile's case did not meet the criteria for reporting, although a spokesman said the hospital conducted its own internal review.

(SOURCES: HCPro Patient Safety Monitor, http://hcpro.com, November 18, 2009; The Hartford Courant, http://courant.com, accessed November 24, 2009)