Hospitals Must Report Certain Adverse Events

In New Hampshire and other states, hospitals are required to report the occurrance of certain bad outcomes.  In New Hampshire, these egregious medical errors are termed “adverse events.”  Examples of such adverse events include surgery performed on the wrong body part, retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery, death or serious injury resulting from a medication error and stage 3 or 4 ulcers acquired after admission.

Following the occurrence of the adverse event, the facility must report the adverse event to the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. A facility that fails to report an adverse event is subject to disciplinary actions and sanctions.  The hospital must also conduct a root cause analysis of the event and implement a corrective action plan to implement the findings of the root cause analysis.

The Department of Health and Human Services publishes the reported adverse events for each hospital on its website.

Medicare calls these types of events “Never Events.”  If a Medicare patient is a victim of a Never Event at a hospital, Medicare will not pay the hospital for the treatment and the hospital is expected to absorb the cost.  The term “Never Event” is derived from the principle that these types of errors should never occur.

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