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Posts Tagged ‘hospital report’

You know an issue is important when a variety of people have something to say about it.

It seems that our hospital report from late May has had this sort of effect. The report outlines our findings: Since 1990, when the National Practitioner Data Bank went online, hospitals have reported, on average, just 650 doctors a year that have been disciplined for unprofessional behavior or incompetence. That falls well short of the 5,000 annual reports anticipated when the database was created. Nearly 50 percent of all hospitals did not submit a single name to the database in its first 17 years.

Appalled at this apparent dismissal of the databank by hospitals around the country, we offered some powerful recommendations to fix the system, including more vigorous legislative oversight, substantial fines for hospitals that fail to report doctors and making compliance with the database requirements part of the Medicare certification process.

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The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships program is shining a light on our recent report detailing how hospitals are failing to report dangerous doctors to the National Practioner Data Bank. The program was established to provide journalists with tools to report on health-related topics.

William Heisel, writing for the group’s Antidote blog, calls our report “comprehensive and critical” and concludes:

The National Practitioner Data Bank will only improve if we keep the people reporting to it honest.

Heisel suggests this be done through the media. He suggests that writers follow up on recommendations and legislation years after it is passed to evaluate its implementation and/or success. By doing so, reporters can perform the essential function of holding government accountable. Had anyone done that in this case, they would have learned that hospitals were failing miserably in reporting bad docs as required. (more…)

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As has been the norm of late, Public Citizen has been very busy over the past week advocating for safe drugs, doctor accountability, and comprehensive trade legislation. Testifying in front of Congress and the FDA is only part of what we’ve done. Check out these news highlights.

An Associated Press story picked up by newspapers all over the country tells of a contact lens solution that caused eye infections and, in some cases, even blindness. Even though consumers complained, the problems went unreported by the solution maker for over a year. Dr. Peter Lurie, deputy director of our Health Research Group, weighed in on the issue. Dr. Lurie also voiced his concern about “off-label” uses of botulinum toxin products as news of a Botox alternative, Dysport, emerged.

ABC News caught up with our hospital report this past weekend, featuring it and Dr. Sidney Wolfe, our acting president and director of our Health Research Group, on ABC World News with Charles Gibson. Their segment features Dr. Robert Ricketson, a surgeon who used a screwdriver instead of titanium rod during a back surgery. Three corrective surgeries later, his patient was left bedridden, paralyzed from the waist down. The catch? Dr. Ricketson lost his medical license in Oklahoma and Texas, but found a job in Hawaii because his previous employers had not reported negligence.

Most recently, Reuters wrote about mounting pressure on President Obama to enact new trade legislation. As over 100 lawmakers called Wednesday for such a change, Bill Holland, deputy director for our Global Trade Watch, speaks of our support for the new Trade Act, as it’s been called.

Flickr photo from Michele Catania.

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Remember the report we issued on May 27 that outlined the failures of hospitals to report and discipline poor doctors? Well so do Charlie Gibson and ABC News because they covered our findings last night.

Watch the video here.

Our report found that nearly 50 percent of all hospitals in the United States failed to submit a single report to the National Practitioner Databank since its creation in 1990. The Databank was created to keep track of bad doctors by listing any practitioner who had their admitting privileges revoked or suspended for 31 days or more. That way, a hospital could easily check any doctor’s background before hiring him or her.

But this system has failed the very people it was trying to protect. Hospitals routinely exploit loopholes to avoid government requirements, such as the need to report to the Databank.  (more…)

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