CMS Makes Some Hospital Malpractice Data Unavailable to the Public

Jacky Gale | August 18th, 2014

New York Hospital Malpractice Attorneys

In a move that has drawn sharp criticism from patient safety advocates and quality researchers alike, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has ceased public reporting of certain types of medical malpractice incidents, which inhibits prospective patients from comparing the safety records of hospitals.

The New York hospital malpractice lawyers of The Sanders Firm are deeply disturbed by this troubling move on the part of CMS. We firmly believe in the rights of patients to make informed decisions for their well-being and are concerned that the concealment of certain safety data may portend an ominous trend.

Full transparency on the part of hospitals is necessary to enable patients to choose the best hospitals with the strictest safety protocols in order to minimize risk to themselves and their loved ones.

If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries or losses as a result of hospital acquired conditions (HACs) – such as air embolisms or foreign objects left in the body during surgery – our NY hospital malpractice lawyers invite you to schedule a free consultation at The Sanders Firm. During your confidential case review, our medical malpractice experts will thoroughly explain your legal rights and options.

HAC documentation

In 2013, CMS denied that it was considering eliminating data on certain HACs. However, later in the year, the agency did indeed remove information about eight categories of HACs from its hospital comparison website. These categories include incidents such as the failure to remove foreign objects from a patient’s body during surgery and the development of air embolisms.

At that time, the information was still available on a spreadsheet that was publicly accessible, though perhaps difficult for the average consumer to translate. Now, even that tool has vanished, forcing researchers to calculate the rates of HACs among hospitals themselves, based on claims data.

Prior to the elimination of data, patient safety advocates and researchers relied on the hospital comparison website from CMS to obtain information such as the rate of occurrence for HACs at thousands of acute care hospitals in the U.S. Now, incidence rates are only available for 13 types of HACs, including complications following surgery such as the development of MRSA and sepsis infections.

CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said in a statement that the change was intended to improve a patient’s ability to make informed decisions by making the information “more comprehensive and (more) relevant to consumers.”

However, patient safety advocates are skeptical that the change will improve patient experiences. One member of the hospital working group who voted in favor of the change later said that she was under the impression that the measure would strengthen, rather than hinder, medical malpractice reporting, and had no idea that certain HAC categories would be dropped.

NY medical malpractice attorneys are here to help

As one of the largest medical malpractice law firms in New York, The Sanders Firm will aggressively pursue your medical malpractice claim, supported by our multidisciplinary team of investigators and medical consultants. Our hospital malpractice lawyers in NY have more than 45 years of trial experience. We’re proud to serve residents of Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

If you or a loved one may have been the victim of a hospital acquired condition (HAC) that caused physical injuries, other complications, or death, you’ll find a powerful ally in The Sanders Firm. We can file a medical negligence lawsuit on your behalf to help you obtain maximum compensation for your losses. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY today for your free consultation.


  1. USA Today, Feds stop public disclosure of many serious hospital errors, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/05/foreign-objects-in-bodies-federal-hospital-reporting-changes/13467829/

  2. HealthIT Analytics, Study: HACs as defined by CMS do not represent true impact, http://healthitanalytics.com/2014/06/13/study-hacs-as-defined-by-cms-do-not-represent-true-impact/