Medical Mistakes Routinely Go Unreported, Audit Finds

An audit by the New York State Comptroller found that hospitals routinely fail to report patient deaths, injuries and other serious adverse incidents through the New York Patient Occurence Reporting and Tracking System (NYPORTS), as mandated by law. State Comptroller Alan Hevesi said that the timely reports were "critical" to quality health care delivery and improving patient care and that "without accurate and complete information, it is not possible to effectively pinpoint and address problem areas." The audit found that 84 percent of all deaths and severe medical incidents were not reported within 24 hours, as required.

A report by the National Committee for Quality Assurance shows that patients get the correct care only half of the time. Despite 10 percent-per-year increases in patients' insurance premiums over the past four years, poor medical care resulted in 79,000 avoidable deaths and $1.8 billion in medical costs last year. Finding that health plans that publicly report their performance showed marked improvement in a number of areas, the report recommended fuller disclosure from doctors and hospitals.