New Jersey will publicly report 14 hospital patient-safety measures, including botched surgeries and accidental punctures, under a bill signed by Gov. Jon Corzine. Incidents will be reported, hospital-by-hospital, by the state Department of Health and Senior Services in an annual Hospital Performance Report. “We know that a really important tool in healthcare quality is transparency,” said Heather Howard, New Jersey's commissioner of health and senior services.
Under the law, the New Jersey DHSS may expand reporting by regulation. The law calls for indicators that are recommended by the CMS or the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; are risk-adjusted and “suitable for comparative reporting and public accountability; are supported by strong evidence without substantial evidence against their use; and can be measured using hospital procedure and diagnosis codes.
The legislation, effective 180 days after Corzine's signature, also prohibits hospitals from seeking pay from private insurers or patients for certain errors: objects left inside surgical patients; transfusion reactions; air embolisms; and surgery on the wrong side, wrong body part, wrong person or the wrong surgery performed on a patient.