MD and VA laws to report serious events

Under laws that took effect last year in Virginia and a few years earlier in the District and Maryland, hospitals must report to health regulators many serious injuries that patients suffer in the course of treatment.


According to the Washington Post, beginning this month the Maryland commission that determines hospital rates is using a new system that ranks facilities on how often they commit 52 mistakes. Hospitals with such reportable errors agree to bill insurers at a lower rate. Maryland is also instituting rules requiring facilities to note patients’ pre-existing medical conditions at check-in; if a hospital is found at fault for a new condition, the hospital will be denied 85% of the cost of care to related to the error.


Meanwhile, Virginia’s hospital association last month reached an agreement with the state’s 95 hospitals to not bill for several preventable errors. The laws are different in each jurisdiction. For example, Virginia's public records identify the hospitals by name, while Maryland's and the District's do not.


At least 20 states require hospitals to report every incidence of hospital-acquired infection.


(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, July 24, 2009; Washington Post,, accessed August 4, 2009)