Connecticut hospitals reporting fewer adverse events; many go uninvestigated

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 18, 2009

Members of the public in the state of Connecticut are being increasingly kept in the dark about hospital's adverse events, reports the Hartford Courant. In 2002, the state created a law that required hospitals to report a defined list of adverse events to the Department of Health, which was required to investigate the reports. When these reports became available to the public, however, the department received a large backlash from the state's hospitals and modified the law. Since 2004 the hospitals report on the "never events" defined by the National Quality Forum. However, the Courant found that the state has investigated a significantly fewer amount of these reports, making the public less aware of the adverse events occurring.

The Department of Health has said that keeping more reported adverse events confidential has encouraged increased reporting of these events. The newer requirements for investigating an error only call for state scrutiny when standards were not followed, or the errors indicate systemic problems. However, many patient deaths have gone uninvestigated, reports the Courant, because they have fallen into the category of events during which staff responded appropriately.

Click here to read the full investigation from the Hartford Courant.