Illinois Makes Little Progress In Publicly Releasing Hospital Quality Data
Illinois lawmakers in 2005 passed two laws designed to provideconsumers with detailed information on hospital safety andperformance, but projects created under the laws have been delayedand no reports have been published, the ChicagoTribune reports.
Among the efforts:
The Illinois Hospital Report Card, which in 2005 was the\tnation's first effort to document hospital-acquired infections,\tremains unpublished; \t
The Illinois Consumer Guide to Health Care, a study of\tmedical care at hospitals and surgery centers to compare performance\ton 30 medical procedures with wide variations in outcome and cost,\twas scheduled to be released in January 2006 but has not been\tpublished; and \t
The Illinois Adverse Events report, which is focused on\tserious medical errors, was to begin Jan. 1 but is "nowhere\tnear ready to launch," according to the Tribune. \t
The state's new Division of Patient Safety was supposed tocoordinate these efforts and other programs to improve patient care,but one year after the agency was established, it has two employeesand has just begun to hire a full staff.
State officialsattribute the delays to problems with the original legislation, alack of funding and staff, and a complicated regulatory process,among other issues. Eric Whitaker, former head of the IllinoisDepartment of Public Health, said, "I think we hadunrealistic expectations" for what it would take to enact thelaws.
Officials predict that the report card will be publiclyreleased by October, and the consumer guide is scheduled forpublication this summer. There is no timetable for releasing theadverse events report (Graham, Chicago Tribune, 1/6).
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