Most consumers believe they should have the right to know of potential
hazards when making important decisions about a service – including
services as important as their medical care. Unfortunately for patients
in Pennsylvania, not all information about the quality of care at state
medical facilities is readily available or accessible. This is because
the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, the agency which keeps stats
on medical errors and related issues throughout the state, doesn’t
allow patients to know the full details behind medical errors, including
those resulting in injury or death.
The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, which became
law in 2002, requires certain information regarding medical errors be
kept confidential. Why? Officials state that by maintaining confidentiality
and the Patient Safety Authority’s non-punitive stance, more medical
facilities are willing to self-report information about “near-misses”
and errors. The focus, officials claim, is to promote safety improvement
rather than fear.
Under the MCare law, as the statute is known, various information is not
transparent, including information regarding:
- The names of doctors and other involved health care providers from reports
given to the Patient Safety Authority.
- Which and how many facilities or doctors the state Department of Health
investigated for law violations.
- Whether the state took corrective action over a serious event.
Balancing patient safety, the quality of medical providers, and transparency
is no easy task. In fact, current laws were created after considerable
revisions. The ultimate problem, many lawmakers and officials in the health
care community claim, is that medical science is not infallible and that
more errors will occur as medicine expands and more people interact with
it. For patients, improving quality of care is always important. The difficulty
rests with how and what information should be shared.
Although there are differing views on public reporting over medical errors,
the fact remains that all health care providers have a duty to treat patients
according to accepted standards of care. When they fail to do so or otherwise act
negligently, they can be held liable for damages victims suffer.
At Shrager, Spivey & Sachs, our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers
have considerable experience helping injured patients and their families
learn more about their rights and the
medical malpractice claim process. If you believe your injuries or the injuries of your loved
one were cause by the failures or negligence of a medical professional,
our team is available to review your case during a FREE consultation.
Contact us today to discuss your case!