OTHER VOICES

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Editorials -

“Iowans have a right to know what is go­ing on in hos­pi­tals. When you’re choos­ing a hos­pi­tal to have surgery, you should know about in­fec­tion rates and mis­takes.”

“State law­mak­ers should elim­i­nate the Iowa Hos­pi­tal Li­cens­ing Board—and fi­nally re­quire pub­lic re­port­ing of hos­pi­tal er­rors them­selves. It should not be up to a board of vol­un­teers to en­sure open­ness about prob­lems in med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties Iowans en­trust with their lives. ... Its job of ap­prov­ing reg­u­la­tions could be taken over by the State Board of Health. It adds a layer of bu­reau­cracy to state govern­ment, and the board is too cozy with the hos­pi­tal in­dus­try. Un­til re­cently, it was com­prised en­tirely of for­mer hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tives. Those with ties to the in­dus­try still make up the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers. And its very ex­is­tence al­lows law­mak­ers to shirk their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. … Iowans have a right to know what is go­ing on in hos­pi­tals. When you’re choos­ing a hos­pi­tal to have surgery, you should know about in­fec­tion rates and mis­takes. ... Also, pub­lic re­port­ing of mis­takes will make hos­pi­tals ac­count­able. That is the best way to en­cour­age them to do more to keep pa­tients safe and avoid er­rors that add $4.4 bil­lion to govern­ment health costs each year.”

— Des Moines (Iowa) Reg­is­ter

“Doc­tors-to-be prom­ise al­ways to put the in­ter­est of their pa­tients first. In re­turn, they re­ceive a crush­ing work­load, an out­sized help­ing of so­ci­etal re­spect and a com­fort­able in­come. ... Many physi­cians also re­ceive in­come ... from drug com­pa­nies, med­i­cal de­vice mak­ers and oth­ers with less al­tru­is­tic in­ter­ests. Among them are nearly 250 doc­tors in the St. Louis area who re­ceived pay­ments of be­tween $100 and more than $303,000. A na­tional data­base of drug com­pany pay­ments to doc­tors to­tal­ing more than $282 mil­lion was pub­licly re­leased last month by ProPublica, a non­profit in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion. … The fed­eral Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act … re­quires that drug com­pany pay­ments to doc­tors will be dis­closed be­gin­ning in March 2013. … In a per­fect world, doc­tors would po­lice them­selves. But if they fail to act, or act quickly enough, ex­pect law­mak­ers to step in. Cops aren’t al­lowed to ac­cept free food from restau­rants. ... Cor­po­rate pur­chas­ing agents can’t take cash from com­pa­nies try­ing to earn their busi­ness. Why should doc­tors be im­mune to temp­ta­tions that the rest of us rec­og­nized and banned long ago?”

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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