In a move that seems confusing to say the least, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stopped publicly reporting when hospitals leave foreign objects in patients, along with other serious mistakes.
These errors are part of a list of what are called “Hospital-Acquired Conditions” (HACs) which are considered preventable. According to CMS, Hospital-Acquired Conditions are “conditions that patients did not have when they were admitted to the hospital, but which developed during the hospital stay. “
The government-operated Hospital Compare website lists how often many HACs occurred at acute care hospitals, where patients stay up to 25 days recovering from serious injuries or illnesses. USA Today has reported that last summer, CMS removed the data on leaving foreign objects and seven other HACs from the Hospital Compare website. CMS did leave the data on another site, in a format available to those who knew what the reporting meant. Then, as of August of this year, the data on those eight HACs is no longer available anywhere. According to USA Today, “Now researchers have to calculate their own rates using claims data.”