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IL: Hospital safety report card past due

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Chicago Tribune reports the several hospital safety report cards have not been published four years after Illinois passed two laws to create greater transparency on hospital safety and performance.

– The Illinois Hospital Report Card which was to be the first in the nation to document hospital-acquired infections has not been published.
– The Illinois Consumer Guide to Health Care – study of medical care at hospitals and surgery centers is two years overdue
– A third project focused on serious medical snafus was set to start Jan. 1 but is not ready to launch.

All the projects shared an overarching purpose: to put detailed information about health care in the public domain so patients could become better consumers of medical services.

The Hospital Report Card’s focus was on infection rates and the adequacy of hospitals’ nursing staffs. The Consumer Guide was to compare hospitals’ performance on 30 leading medical procedures that have wide variation in outcomes and costs.

The Adverse Events report would examine egregious hospital errors, such as surgery on the wrong side of a person’s brain, and the Patient Safety Division was supposed to coordinate these efforts and other initiatives to improve care.

Officials now predict the Hospital Report Card will be ready for public release by October, five years after the legislation was passed. The Consumer Guide, originally targeted for January 2006, is scheduled for publication this summer. There is no timetable yet for releasing the Adverse Events report.

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