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Transparency and reporting medical errors? Not in Missouri

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Transparency and reporting medical errors? Not in Missouri

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reporting medical errors, transparency in health careHospital errors kill more people every year than car crashes, diabetes or pneumonia, according to federal government estimates.

But Missouri hospitals don’t want people to know when and where these mistakes happen – and no law requires them to tell. They say patients are safer when hospitals can share that information among themselves without anyone pointing fingers.

“Focusing on systems of blame and punishment rather than analysis and improvement are counterproductive to improving patient safety,” said Michael R. Dunaway, a vice president in the St. Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council, in a letter to the Post-Dispatch.

Advocates for transparency, though, question whether patients are safer. “People want public accountability,” said Louise Probst, director of the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition. “I don’t know what’s holding us back.”

Missouri hospitals have opposed legislation that would release information about serious errors. The state is among a minority of states that don’t track errors. Read more.

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