Reliable information about the quality of care that hospitals provide to patients should be available to the public. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality discovered inconsistencies in hospital scores from national hospital rating systems. This makes it difficult for the average person to assess the safety of a hospital and confirm that it is in compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines.
Under Governor Christie’s administration, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) no longer routinely conducts hospital inspections when a hospital’s license is due for renewal. Instead of routine annual inspections, the DOH now relies on accreditation inspections by private companies, written assurances provided by hospitals claiming compliance with state laws, and occasional inspections generated by complaints.
Opponents to the current system question whether or not this is an effective way to guarantee patient safety and quality of care. Under federal law, the findings of inspections done by private companies are not available to the public. In the past, DOH hospital inspection reports were transparent. Currently the state does not automatically get a detailed copy of an inspection report. Instead, the state is only notified if the hospital has passed or failed an inspection. The fact that private companies conducting inspections are paid by the hospitals they are inspecting creates a possible conflict of interest.
Another concern is that private agencies’ inspection guidelines differ from state guidelines. Private inspection agencies do not assess regulations such as nurse to patient ratios, or employee safety procedures. Recently, over 300 nurses from various unions rallied in Trenton in support of legislation to increase staffing standards for hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities, and Department of Human Services (DHS) facilities. The current staffing ratio standards were put in place by the DOH over 27 years ago, and lawmakers feel that it is time to update the standards to increase patient safety and quality of care.
A recent survey revealed that 77% of New Jersey voters are in support of new hospital staffing legislation, and 81% would like hospitals to be inspected every year. Annual inspections would help identify conditions that are hazardous to staff, patients, and visitors, and potentially reduce the rate of medical errors. Presently, Governor Christie only requires hospitals to provide Regulatory Compliance Statements with their annual license renewal. The compliance statement is basically a self-certification stating that a hospital is in compliance with state laws. Many lawmakers feel that this is not enough to ensure that hospitals are providing safe environments for patients and employees.
Cherry Hill Medical Malpractice Lawyer, David K. Cuneo, Seeks Justice for Victims of Hospital Negligence
Patients who have been injured during a hospital stay because of hospital negligence are urged to call Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer, David Cuneo. Our Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers will help you get the compensation that you are entitled for your injuries. Our offices are located inCollingswood, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout South Jerseyincluding Camden County and Burlington County. Please call 856-869-9066 to schedule a free case review or contact us online.