Here's one way for a hospital to react to a federally mandated patient safety report that the government required it to compile to document steps toward improvement following a period of woeful performance: Refuse to disclose the report publicly after promising to do so and following the opportunity to improve.
That may strike some people as being akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand to avoid an imminent difficulty, yet it is precisely what a Texas hospital opted to do recently after reviewing the report in question. The facility -- Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas -- stated that it feared repercussions from the findings, including medical malpractice and other litigation.
The hospital's current problem relates back to its established history of safety lapses and patient harms, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reacted strongly to last autumn. CMS officials determined that the problems were so bad that Parkland no longer qualified for Medicare funding.
The hospital managed to stay open by reaching an agreement with CMS that resulted in its hiring of an outside firm to conduct safety monitoring. That firm's report, issued after three months of close observation, recommended necessary improvements across 15 hospital departments.
CMS now has the report. Although it states that it hasn't yet decided whether it will publicly disclose the findings, Parkland's CEO says that the hospital will definitely keep the report under wraps.
One media article calls that "a move away from patient safety and transparency." The hospital decided to pursue that course of action after administrators met with an attorney.
Source: Fierce Healthcare, "Hospital withholds patient safety report, cites legal woes" Alicia Caramenico, Feb. 8, 2012