A public-private reporting initiative on hospital quality will more than double the number of quality indicators tracked by May 2005, as well as add a fourth area of quality measurement. The new reporting requirements generally broaden the scope of care expected of hospitals in treating heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, the three medical conditions targeted when the CMS and several hospital associations launched the initiative in December 2002 with a "starter set" of 10 measures. Beginning in February 2005, seven additional quality measures for the three medical conditions will be introduced, the CMS said. The program will be further expanded in May 2005 to include three measures of surgical-infection prevention -- the fourth area of quality measurement -- and two more pneumonia-care measures, for a total of 12 new quality indicators. To date, about 2,700 hospitals, or 58% of those eligible, have registered to participate in the voluntary initiative. About half of the registered hospitals have yet to submit data. About 500 have provided data on at least one measure for all three medical conditions now tracked.
In other quality news, the New Jersey Assembly unanimously passed a bill that would require hospitals to report serious medical errors to the state but would protect the information from being used in court. The bill, which passed 78-0, was approved earlier by the state Senate but will return to the Senate for consideration of amendments made in the Assembly. -- by John Morrissey