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Gotham Gazette: Duane Calls for Hearings on Hospital Incident Reporting


July 27, 2009

Sen. Thomas Duane will use his position as chair of the Senate Health Committee to hold  hearings across the state “to better understand what is working well in our hospitals, and what contributes to the breakdown in our mandatory reporting system.”

Duane  made the announcement in a  statement that was released  in response to a recent Daily News story that detailed how city hospitals have failed to report “serious medical mishaps” to the state.

The story detailed how events that left patients dead or injured were not reported, were misreported, or were completely made up and in some cases records detailing care were changed to protect hospital staff.

“This is a wake-up call to all of us.” said Duane in the statement.

City Comptroller William Thompson released a report in March that showed that hospitals generally under report mistakes. Thompson told the Daily News that their findings are “extremely disturbing,” and demanded that the Health Department repair New York’s oversight system.

A spokesperson for Duane said that it is too early to say when the Senate hearings will take place but said “We are planning them as we speak.”

Duane’s statement follows.

Statement of Senator Thomas K. Duane

RE: Medical Error and Adverse Event Reporting in Hospitals

“As chair of the New York State Senate Health Committee, patient safety is a primary concern of mine.  The report in Sunday’s New York Daily News, which echoes recent findings by New York City Comptroller William Thompson, points to inadequate oversight of hospitals’ compliance with the New York Patient Occurrence and Tracking System, the state’s system by which hospitals are meant to report adverse events.

This is a wake-up call to all of us.

I will be holding hearings across the state to better understand what is working well in our hospitals, and what contributes to the breakdown in our mandatory reporting system.  Health care reform in New York State will only be successful if the institutions providing care honestly report their activities, both good and bad.  It is critical that the Department of Health use its oversight capabilities to ensure that the system works the way it is designed, to improve the quality of care at our hospitals and to protect patients obtaining needed health care services.”

–New York State Senate Health Committee Chair Thomas K. Duane (D, WFP-Manhattan)