No Hospital Disclosure Law For California

Schwarzenegger’s pen has been busy.

In addition to axing menu labeling legislation, the California governor vetoed a bill that would require hospitals to disclose surgical success rates as well as safety info.

Reader Kit is mad:

I was reading the LA Times this morning and was a bit disgusted to read that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would require hospitals to disclose infection and death rates. As someone who has lost two relatives to staph infections that they acquired at the same hospital, I was disgusted to read this.

I would love to have access to this vital information, but I guess it’s not going to happen anytime soon in California. Looks like the governor is in bed with the hospital industry. I hope that bed is staph infected.

Here are some tips to help you prevent hospital acquired infections on your own.

Gov. vetoes hospital disclosure proposal[LA Times]
(Photo:State of California)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    isn’t this the state that caught a hospital dropping patients off on the streets out of an abmulance?

  2. Red_Eye says:

    The reason this was vetoed is most likely related to the fact if most people had any idea of the day to day operations of a hospital they would riot.

    Not all are bad don’t get me wrong but some of the things you learn are truly terrifying. A good example, over the years I have come to find out the largest children’s hospital in Georgia, has no doctors after hours other than the ones staffing the emergency room (1 or 2) after 6pm most days. Thats 1 or 2 doctors, on the ground floor of a multistory hospital with multiple ICU units that are on upper floors. So a doctor has to run upstairs (either by stairs or elevator) if needed in one of the several ICU areas.

    So if your kid was post op in a ICU how secure would you feel that the nearest doctor could be as much as 5 minutes away and that is assuming they are not busy with a emergency and therefore there are no actual doctors available.

    Our medical system is a joke.

  3. liquisoft says:

    My wife works for a very reputable hospital in Orange County, CA. For a time she was in charge of monitoring and finding ways to reduce emergency room slip/falls rates. It seems mundane and pointless to most, but a lot of people fall and hurt themselves in the hospital, and as you might expect the hospital doesn’t want this to happen.

    From an outsiders point of view, one might be shocked to know how many people fall and injure themselves while in the hospital. Many would think the hospital is just unsafe, but the reality is that A LOT of patients decide they want to walk around when they shouldn’t, and as a result they end up hurting themselves. There are a ton of disobedient patients who think they know better, and so they stand up when they should not and of course fall down and hurt themselves.

    Surgical success rates are probably similar in nature. If an outsider knew how many people died in a hospital or had complications following surgeries, they might think the hospital negligent. In reality, most surgery is not a high-success type of thing. Surgeries are usually performed in emergency situations where somebody is life or death, and if the person ends up dying after surgery the records would list it as a “failed surgery” when it may have simply been a situation beyond the surgeon’s control.

  4. This is depressing.

  5. Adam Hyland says:

    Dear Red_Eye, anecdote = / = argument. Please make a note of this.

  6. @liquisoft: Yeah, but they could start writing the records to include more information so that they could show that most of the failed surgeries were emergency ER situations.

    If people knew that most falls are from people disobeying the doctor and walking around on their own maybe less people would do that.

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    Love how Republicans always want the market to make decisions, not “faceless gov’t bureaucrats”, then they withhold vital information that allows consumers to make intelligent choices. Rat hypocritical bast*rds, every last one of them. Even the “moderate, New Way faded-movie-star” ones.

  8. liquisoft says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    No, people don’t listen. Seriously. Hospital patients so often think they know better than the doctors and nurses.

  9. mac-phisto says:

    HAI statistics should be available. period. how can you address a problem without knowing the problem exists?

    many of these infections are easily preventable & yet they continue to manifest themselves. our hospitals should be doing everything in their power to ensure that HAIs are kept to a minimum.

    look, we close entire businesses if they test positive for mold or anthrax or a number of other life-threatening organisms, why should a hospital be any different? & as consumers, how are we supposed to make an informed decision about a hospital if we don’t have access to all the facts? just as i might seek a second opinion from a doctor before a major operation, i should be able to seek a different hospital if the recommended option is riddled with deaths due to infections.

  10. gibbersome says:

    Reporting surgical success rates is quite different from staph infections. There is nothing wrong with reporting on deaths related to hospital acquired infections. However, imagine surgeons refusing to perform the most difficult cases to keep their “success rate” higher than other doctors.

  11. bohemian says:

    @Liquisoft, Sadly sometimes patients DO know better than doctors or nurses. One of my specialists tried to prescribe a drug that was a direct conflict with another one they knew I was taking. Luckily I googled it before I picked it up.

    Hospitals should be required by federal law to post their success rate for surgery, their infection rate and the cost of every single procedure code.

  12. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:I have to agree. The key to viewing the disclosed information is correct context, not censure. People would be shocked/amazed/horrified at the numbers, but wouldn’t be if they actually understood the context? Fine. Give us some context. The solution isn’t preventing the flow of potentially useful information entirely; it’s giving us the tools to use that information sensibly.

  13. jwissick says:

    Arnie Schwarzenkennedy went bat shit over the weekend..

    I regret voting for him in the recall… but I am happy that I can say I did not vote for him last time.

  14. faust1200 says:

    It’s not a tuma!!!!

  15. mac-phisto says:

    @gibbersome: i don’t believe this measure necessarily required hospitals to report surgical success rates for all procedures. even the most “liberal” plan (pennsylvania) only gathers info on 20 or so procedures.

    i think the major reason the hospitals were against this is that they would have ZERO control over what was reported – an outside commission was going to establish the guidelines.

    that may be the reason why the running man felt so compelled to run away from this one.

  16. humphrmi says:

    California is so schizophrenic. First, they ban all this stuff because it’s bad for you. Then they say that you don’t need to know how bad hospitals are for you. Instead of making hospitals publish their staph data, they should just set a threshold and shut down hospitals that exceed it. But no, smoking is much worse than staph, apparently says the State of California.

    Not trying to open a smoking vs. staph argument here, it’s just that if they had the guts to declare smoking a health hazard, why don’t they recognize other health hazards?

  17. rmz says:

    Simply reporting success rates would do nothing. Oftentimes, a patient goes into an operation with a very low chance of survival to begin with, and if they die, it can either be something unforeseen (complications, or the patient’s health deteriorates), or the patient may just be fading faster than the surgeons can work. This sort of statistic would seem to imply that every “failed surgery” is an error or failing on the hospital’s part, when that’s simply not true.

    When a mechanic tries to fix a malfunctioning part on your car, is it a “failure” when the part has to be replaced outright, rather than simply being fixed? Sometimes, things are beyond repair.

  18. Anonymous says:
  19. Anonymous says:

    there is a government hospital comparing website that has some tools to compare hospitals. a lot of the information is about following protocols, getting things right, and on time. it includes things like the right antibiotic as early as possible.

  20. Beerad says:

    @gibbersome: “imagine surgeons refusing to perform the most difficult cases…” Considering the reporting is done at the hospital level, I don’t really see this as a problem. More importantly, do you really want to be operated on by someone who refuses to acknowledge the risks of the operation? “Gee doc, how many of these have you successfully done before?” “Uhhh, I don’t want to tell you.” Not to mention I doubt most surgeons will shy away from complicated operations to preserve their batting average.

    @rmz: If the problem is that the success rates don’t tell the whole picture, the solution is MORE information, not less. For example, break it down into “death during surgery” and “post-surgery MRSA infection” — the hospitals are already doing analysis like this, they just don’t want to release the information.

  21. Trai_Dep says:

    @humphrmi: Not so much. The CA people want information to make intelligent decisions with. Some anti-consumer medical practitioners and the Republican Governor think informed consumers are bad for business.

    No contradiction. But plenty disgusting.

  22. Elvisisdead says:

    @bestuser: These figures are collected for every hospital in the US that accepts Medicare/Medicaid dollars. It’s required reporting by CMS.

    I knew that it was collected, but didn’t realize that they were making the data available. Thanks for the link!

  23. zolielo says:

    Transparency in government for the most part is always the way to go, particularly in the areas of public health, civil liberties, and and national defense.

    There clearly are times when information needs to be limited but I do not think that hospital data is one of them.