CMS posts patient safety information on Hospital Compare website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has begun posting patient safety ratings on its Hospital Compare website, according to Kaiser Health News. 

The information now available on the Hospital Compare website includes a “Serious Complications” composite, made up of measures including collapsed lung, blood clots, accidental cuts and tears from medical instruments, and bloodstream infections.  Another new measure is a “Deaths for Certain Conditions” composite, which includes death after admission for heart attack, pneumonia, heart failure and gastrointestinal bleeding.  Other new patient safety measures are breathing difficulty after surgery, Deaths from Serious Treatable Complications after Surgery, and Death after Surgery to Repair a Weakness in the Abdominal Aorta.

The article states that the new data on the site is a start on “value-based purchasing”, where hospitals with low quality will be at risk of losing Medicare dollars.  Critics of the new data say that because the data is obtained from Medicare billing claims and not clinical records, hospitals that treat sicker patients will have poorer ratings. 

(Sources: Kaiser Health News, http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org, October 17, 2011; Hospital Compare Website, http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov, accessed October 20, 2011)