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Movement to publicly reveal doctor errors gains traction

A problem that is frequently encountered by patients and their families in Texas who believe that there might have been a medical mistake such as a failure to diagnose is that the facilities are uncooperative in providing information. This information can provide insight into a negligent physician, how delayed treatment can lead to a worsened condition and more. Without it, it can be hard to pursue a legal case. There is a possibility, however, that the public will soon be able to see confidential reports regarding mistakes made in hospitals and other care facilities.

A proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to force private health care accreditation services to list the problems they have discovered when they conduct inspections along with what is being done to fix these matters. Most hospitals are subject to inspection by these accreditors rather than governmental agencies. It is believed that these private entities are not catching the most severe issues at medical facilities. Annually, CMS sampled some of the facilities that are accredited by private companies. It found that many deficiencies were overlooked by these accrediting companies.

Since medical mistakes are considered one of the main causes of death in the U.S., this is a prominent problem that needs to be addressed. Health facilities must meet certain requirements to be participants in federal funding. If there are issues that are not fixed, it can lose that funding from Medicare. This is a significant source of income and, although it happens rarely, is a major concern and a motivating factor in keeping reported errors to a minimum. The accreditors must be approved by Health and Human Services, but the oversight is generally perceived as lax.

This is an important reality for people who have suffered because of what they think was a medical mistake or lost a loved one in such a circumstance. Evidence of what happened is key to filing a legal claim. If that evidence and information is not easily accessible, it can result if people being deprived of the truth and, subsequently, be unable to pursue litigation. A lawyer who is experienced in pursuing cases because of doctor errors can help to find evidence and see what really happened to hurt or kill a loved one. That is the first call that should be made by a family that suspects a negligent physician or medical facility mistake was the cause of a worsened condition or death.

Source: tpr.org, "Secret Data On Hospital Inspections May Soon Become Public," Charles Ornstein, April 18, 2017

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