N.J. hospitals must disclose "never events"

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 21, 2009

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In September, New Jersey became the latest state to require hospitals to tell the public about serious mistakes that happen in their facilities. More than two dozen states mandate that hospitals report "never events" such as wrong-site surgery, but most of these measures call for aggregate reporting and do not make public what errors occurred at which hospitals.

The new Garden State measure, signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine, takes effect in March 2010 and will require hospital-specific disclosure of any of 14 adverse events, including birth trauma, air embolism or postoperative deep vein thrombosis. The reportable mistakes are drawn from the National Quality Forum's list of 28 serious errors. A 2004 state law required aggregate medical-error reporting. Between 2005 and last year, hospitals reported more than 1,800 errors, according to the state's health department. The mistakes killed 251 patients.

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