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WA hospital association reverses earlier position on hospital error reporting

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Modern Healthcare reports that the Washington State Hospital Association reversed its opposition to reporting hospital-specific errors after a fierce public outcry.

As previously blogged, in September, under pressure from the hospital association, the state stopped allowing the public to view error reports from individual hospitals, instead making 28 reportable adverse events available only on an aggregate basis.

The association had pointed out to state regulators that a 2006 law expanding the list of preventable mistakes hospitals were required to report to the state also contained language that changed the reporting rules so that individual hospitals would no longer be identifiable in the reports.

But the association quickly backpedaled after newspapers and television stations across the state reported the story last week.

According to Modern Healthcare, a spokeswoman for the hospital association said that “People were not happy. So if the Legislature wants to make a change to the law and allow hospital-specific reporting, we won’t oppose it.”

The association is seeking some “context” to the error reports, such as reporting total number of surgeries as well as surgical errors at hospitals. The state Legislature reconvenes in January and at least one lawmaker has already vowed to introduce a bill that will allow public disclosure of adverse events at individual hospitals once again

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