Axios' The poor state of U.S hospital quality (December 1, 2018) gives an incomplete view on the state of quality and safety in America’s hospitals and health systems.

To begin with, the article ignores the substantial strides hospitals have made in making care safer. The fact is hospitals reduced hospital-acquired conditions by 21% from 2010 – 2015 and reduced certain healthcare-associated infections by 40% between 2009 and 2014. In addition, there were approximately 70,000 fewer unplanned readmissions from 2011 through 2015.

The article also makes incorrect assertions about what quality information is available to patients and their families. Hospitals have long supported transparency when it comes to quality and safety information. In fact, over a decade ago, hospitals led a voluntary public reporting effort that was the basis of CMS’s Hospital Compare website. The article incorrectly suggests that infection data and hospital survey data are unavailable to the public. In fact, hospital-by-hospital infection data have been available on Hospital Compare for several years and CMS complaint survey information is also publicly available.

Of course, opportunities remain to make care better. That is why the AHA and hospitals work collaboratively with each other and a wide range of stakeholders to learn from each other and to drive quality and safety efforts forward. These collaborating organizations include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Joint Commission and other national accreditation bodies.

America’s hospitals continue to engage with patients, communities and policymakers to share progress and identify ways of further improving care.

For more information and for recommendations on ways to build on hospitals’ efforts to improve quality, visit HERE.



Ashley Thompson is Senior Vice President of Policy at the American Hospital Association.

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