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After Change of Mind, Federal Regulators Will Release Hospital Mistake Records

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) apparently have backtracked on its earlier decision to stop publicly reporting incidents of life-threatening mistakes made by hospitals in their course of treating patients, according to a story that appeared in USA Today ("Feds reverse course, will release hospital mistake data," Sept. 7, 2014).   Federal regulators will resume releasing such data, including mishaps such as leaving foreign objects in patients' bodies following surgical procedures and misreading of a patients' blood types, the USA Today reported.  Jane O'Donnell for USA Today also reported that a source informed them that the data is not expected to be available until later this year. Hospital officials have publicly condemned the release of such data because some incidents, particularly objects left in patient's bodies, reportedly happen so infrequently that the information is thought not to be dependable. However, these institutions have faced growing pressure to be more transparent about safety and pricing, particularly because the health care industry is so complex for most consumers, USA Today reported. The data will be of particular use for safety ratings' websites and researchers, according to the USA Today article.

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