N.J. law would publicize detailed hospital error info

In an Associated Press story, Eli Segall looked at proposed legislation in New Jersey that would require hospitals to publish error information and would prevent hospitals from billing patients or insurers for procedures during which mistakes were made.

While current New Jersey law calls for the publication of statewide statistics for preventable mistakes, the proposed legislation would take it a step farther and require data to be shared for individual hospitals. Reports for 2005 and 2006 have been published under the current law; 826 mistakes – 40 percent of which were patient falls – were reported statewide.

According to one of Segall’s sources, patients were only billed for mistaken procedures in isolated cases under existing laws and that in many cases hospitals don’t bill anybody when egregious mistakes have been made and insurers may refuse payment when mistakes have been made.

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