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Bergen County, New Jersey

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Karen Boe Gatlin
Karen Boe Gatlin
Contributor •

Reporting Medical Errors

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Ninety percent of New Jersey residents would like hospitals to report adverse incidents and medical errors, such as patient falls and hospital acquired infections, to the public. One fifth of state residents have a family member who has experienced a preventable medical error, and between 44,000 and 98,000 U.S. citizens die yearly from preventable medical errors. Hospitals do supply data as to the number of adverse incidents at their facilities; however, this information is not made known to the public. Residents argue that they need this information to make decisions about where to seek medical care; hospitals counter that such a reporting requirement will have a “chilling effect” on providing data to the state. New Jersey already discloses to the public information about physicians, including the number of lawsuits that a physician has settled or has been found negligent at trial. The New Jersey Department of Human Services has stated that it will study whether to institute a program of reporting hospital medical errors to the public.