Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blumenthal Calls for Sweeping Changes to Adverse Event Reporting Law

The Hartford Courant reported that on Nov. 16, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called for "sweeping changes to the state's 'adverse event' reporting law for hospitals, following a story in The Courant on Sunday showing that most reported mishaps are kept secret from the public and closed by the state without an investigation." Specifically, "Blumenthal said the law should be rewritten to promote greater disclosure of errors and accidents by hospitals and greater transparency to help patients evaluate medical facilities." In addition, Blumenthal "called for an increase in the number of state investigators, as well as statutory authority for his office to seek civil penalties against hospitals that do not comply with the law."

Blumenthal "said the vast majority of medical decisions and procedures are done correctly, but the minority that's driving down the state's high standards of care should be readily disclosed so the public can make 'informed decisions' about where they should seek care," the Connecticut Post reported. The attorney general stated, "We have now a culture of secrecy and concealment that is completely unjustified by any of the rationales given," adding that "the public needs as much information as possible from doctors, hospitals, and the state Department of Public Health." Blumenthal also stressed the "need for monetary penalties to hold hospitals responsible."

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