News item in FierceHealthcare.com: a bill which would have disclosed hospital infection and death rates to the public was vetoed by California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). While Schwarzenegger’s own healthcare bill contains some data collection provisions, it wouldn’t require the state to release any information to the public. The decision is a victory for the California Hospital Association, which had opposed the disclosures. However, it leaves the state in the awkward position of being far behind the times, as opposed to leading the nation as it often does, given that 19 other states now require hospitals to disclose infection rates.
California has actually been collecting hospital performance data for two decades but does not actively share this data. While it has issued studies on how hospitals handle heart attacks, pneumonia and coronary artery bypass grafts, this falls far short of meeting the requirements of a 1980s law requiring the state to publish similar reports nine times per year.