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NQF Endorses Guideline Framework for Reporting Never-Events

by E. Dale Burrus, JD, LLM on October 13th, 2010

The National Quality Forum (“NQF”) reported that it has endorsed a framework for hospitals to report adverse events that affect patient safety. NQF is a public-private organization formed to improve the quality of health care in the United States. Although it has no power to enforce its recommendations, both states and the federal government have adopted and incorporated NQF standards. Many states require the collection and public reporting of 28 of the 30 NQF’s previously identified endorsed safe practices or serious reportable events (“never-events”). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now withhold reimbursement of 10 health care-acquired conditions that are a result of the never-event concept.

NQF’s newly endorsed framework provides guidance for publicly reporting the patient safety events. According to the press release, there are seven guidelines that “address issues to consider in patient safety event reporting.” The topics include conveying low-frequency events, protecting patient confidentiality, using data from trusted sources, designing and implementing public reports, displaying publicly reported data in a consumer-friendly way, and demonstrating methodology.

This endorsement may be a result of what some see as variability in public reporting as mandated by individual states. Ann Monroe, president of the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, offered this evaluation: “While consumers use a wide range of health information, they especially value information about how well health care organizations perform on improving patient safety and reducing adverse events. This framework provides guidance on how to communicate the complexity of this important data and how to portray sensitive data in an informative and accurate way. It also provides context for consumers to better understand safety events, medical errors and the quality of care they receive.”

For the full press release see:
http://www.qualityforum.org/News_And_Resources/Press_Releases/2010/NQF_Endorses_Framework_for_Public_Reporting_of_Patient_Safety_Events.aspx

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From → Health Law