The Leapfrog Group, a healthcare consumer safety watchdog group, has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to revoke plans to end reporting on serious medical and surgical complications that occur in hospitals.
The 2023 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule contains within it a measure called the CMS Patient Safety and Adverse Events Composite. According to Healthcare Finance News, this would substantially limit or suppress data reported on 10 potentially fatal complications like lung collapses, blood clots and ulcers. From Leapfrog CEO and President Leah Binder:
This would be a giant leap backward in patient safety and a violation of the trust we place in the federal government to alert the public to threats to health and safety.
The IPPS proposed rule comes shortly after a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) which examined medical records from a random sample of 770 Medicare patients discharged from hospitals in October 2018. The report demonstrated that 25% of hospitalized Medicare patients experienced harm during those stays, which resulted in additional costs to Medicare. According to Home Health Care News, the report included a call to address patient harm, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Addressing patient harm and promoting patient safety takes on added urgency in light of the ongoing pandemic and its effects on hospital operations. Despite substantial action by HHS agencies and success in reducing certain types of events, patient harm remains pervasive, is often preventable, and continues to cost the Medicare program and patients.
Binder also cited a 2021 Urban Institute study in Leapfrog’s statement on the importance of comparison among hospitals for people of color, due to persistent racial disparities. The study found that Black patients experience a significantly higher risk of adverse effects from many of the complications included in the IPPS proposed rule that relaxes reporting requirements.