Even when required by state law, hospitals don't disclose patient errors
On November 28, 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that 87 California hospitals had failed to identify a single patient error during the past three years: nearly 20 percent of the state's 418 hospitals. Since 2007, the State of California has required hospitals to self-report any mistake that puts a patient at risk of death or serious injury, and these hospitals claim no such mistakes have occurred. That seems incredibly unlikely, given thorough and expansive recent studies documenting that one in seven hospitalized Medicare patients is harmed during their stay and that nearly 98,000 patients per year suffer [preventable] deaths as a result of hospital errors. Among the 80 percent of hospitals who have complied with the California law, more than 1,000 errors have been confirmed during the three-year period since the law was enacted, and 112 hospitals have been fined as a result.