2004 Illinois patient safety laws monitoring medical malpractice still not implemented

The Illinois Hospital Report Card, the Illinois Consumer Guide to Health Care and another project meant to monitor medical malpractice issues in Illinois hospitals were groundbreaking and exciting initiatives passed in the state in the last four years. However, not much has been done to follow through on these laws. The Chicago Patient Safety Forum has been a strong critic of the delays in implementation even though last year’s Patient Safety Summit in Chicago produced few results. The purpose of the laws was to provide the public with information about their doctors and the medical mistakes they make as well as the hospitals and issues like hospital-acquired infections.

One goal of this legislation was to examine instances of medical malpractice such as birth injuries and surgical errors. The Illinois Hospital Report Card was meant to monitor hospital-acquired infections and if the hospitals are adequately screening patients. It also was to focus on the quality and skills of nursing staffs. The lack of progress has been blamed on problems with the legislation itself, a lack of funding and staff, and bureaucratic delays. Legislators and other officials alike, such as the Illinois Hospital Association, have stated that patients have the right to be informed about their doctors and hospitals.

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