Maryland hospitals reporting more about patient care and safety

Maryland hospitals are reporting more about patient care and safety, according to a new report on events that occur in hospitals affecting patients and their families.

In fiscal 2010, which ended June 30, 2010, 265 deaths and serious injuries from serious adverse events inside hospitals were reported, according to the annual report on hospital safety from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Health Care Quality, which was released last week. Eighty-eight of those were from patients falling, 59 from hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, 20 from delays in treatment and 15 from foreign bodies retained after a surgical procedure.

Under the 6-year-old Maryland Patient Safety Program, hospitals are required to report adverse events that affect patients or their families. The most serious events resulting in death or disability must be reported to the OHCQ for investigation.

“Increased reporting by hospitals is an indicated of engaged and proactive patient safety programs, which ultimately promotes positive patient safety outcomes,” Nancy Grimm, director for the Office of Health Care Quality, said in a statement. “The greater the reporting, the better results for patients.”

In fiscal 2010, the OHCQ saw a 40 percent increase in reports of events: 190 were reported in fiscal 2009, and 183 in fiscal 2008. The report states that the increase is largely attributed to an increase of hospitals reporting pressure ulcers.

The OHCQ requires state hospitals to have patient safety programs that promote internal reporting of all near misses and adverse events, an analysis of the cause of serious adverse events and near misses, and implementation of corrective action.

The OHCQ can issue fines against hospitals that don’t comply with reporting requirements.

In fiscal 2010, the agency investigated 485 complaints received from citizens and advocates related to care in Maryland hospitals. But last fiscal year, only seven of 265 adverse events reported to the agency were also received as a complaint.

The Patient Safety Program has allowed OHCQ to review more than 1,091 serious events that would otherwise not be known or investigated.