Should Other States Follow Pennsylvania?

Hospital acquired infections are preventable – but if steps are not taken to prevent infections then infections can quickly become deadly.  Consumer groups have long advocated that the public should have access to information about the rate of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in individual hospitals.

Hospitals are now in the beginning stages of tracking their infection rates.  By October 2014, hospitals rates for several different infections described by Medicare will be reported by hospitals across the country.  The Department of Health and Human Services has also started on a 5 year action plan to combat HAIs.

Will these government actions be enough to stop preventable infections and safe lives?  Some groups believe that more accurate information would be obtained, and more patients would be spared the agony of a preventable infection, if hospitals were required to report how many patients develop specific infections during treatment.

Pennsylvania is currently the only state that releases information about HAIs to the public and many argue that it has made Pennsylvania hospitals safer.

Will other states follow suit? Will the information released in Pennsylvania ultimately lead to safer conditions for patients?  We hope so – though only time can tell whether the reporting of HAI statistics can lead to fewer cases of Pennsylvania medical malpractice and fewer cases of medical malpractice nationwide.