Most adverse hospital events not reported, agency reports


A large majority of adverse events experienced by Medicare patients in the hospital setting may not be reported, according to a study released last week by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

The report (synopsisfull text) found hospital incident reporting systems captured only an estimated 14 percent of patient harm events experienced by Medicare beneficiaries. Almost two-thirds of the events (61 percent) were not perceived as reportable by staff.

Among other recommendations, the OIG suggested that AHRQ and CMS work together to create a list of reportable events and provide technical assistance to hospitals using the list.

Specifically, the findings are based on a study of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from 195 acute care hospitals in 2008.