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Report finds fault with hospital errors reporting

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The New York Times writes that New York City hospitals are the least reliable in the state at reporting preventable mistakes and adverse incidents for patients like heart attacks, blood clots, hospital infections and medication errors, according to a new report by the Office of City Comptroller.

The report looks at data from 2004 through 2006, with some additional data from 2007. Though city hospitals accounted for almost half the patients statewide in 2006, they reported about 39 adverse incidents per 10,000 patient discharges, compared with nearly 70 per 10,000 in the northern suburbs and upstate and nearly 64 per 10,000 on Long Island.

Since similar institutions are being compared, the report said, a higher number of incidents does not mean that a hospital provides worse treatment, only that it is more diligent about reporting problems. The lack of accurate reporting makes it virtually impossible for consumers to judge accurately the quality of a hospital or for the hospital to compare itself with its peers and make improvements, the comptroller’s office argues, saying the consequences include longer hospital stays and higher health-care costs.

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