Patient Harm Data to Remain on Medicare's Hospital Compare Site

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , May 16, 2013

On the Bloomberg story's comments section, one person identified as "gatesballs" wrote "Of course! The lobbyists have won again after they gave Obama a bundle of dough." And someone with the handle Bobo TheGorilla wrote, "What a surprise. Our government doing something that is not in the public's best interest. Everything in America is Rigged."

These reactions illustrate that this brave new world of payment-for-performance is a hot-button issue. It's a fluid process though, an experiment in how to turn the healthcare industry upside down.

Hospitals and the regulators who pay them aren't entirely sure whether they're incentivizing the right things, or just the easiest things. The data may not be all there just yet.

It may turn out that some of these reporting measures and the payment policies that follow may push hospitals to teach to the test, focusing on avoiding some types of more serious harm but not others.

Time will tell if these measures are imperfect, or have to be tweaked or dropped and replaced with others more relevant. But I believe, and I think the officials at CMS believe as well, that we have to start somewhere.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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