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Democrats and Republicans have had drastically different responses to President Trump's militarized response to protests in the nation's capital. And, new electoral maps will be drawn next year, some by legislatures and others by outside entities.

Disclosure Sought on High Mortality Rates in MA Hospitals

December 6, 2007

Boston, MA – If you're planning to check into a hospital anytime soon, you'd probably be interested to know what its mortality rate is. A consumer group in Massachusetts is asking state government to make mortality figures public, especially since the acute care hospitals in the state have higher patient death rates than the national average.

The Consumer Health Quality Council says currently, there's no way for patients to access this information in Massachusetts; and further, many of the hospitals don't even know their own rates. Today, the group is issuing a letter to the Department of Public Health to get mortality rates "into the open," so patients can make better-informed decisions.

Elizabeth Pell, a member of the Council, was medical guardian for a man with developmental disabilities who died from a heart attack she says was caused by the stress of the hospital process.

"His death may have been prevented had I had a better chance to give informed consent. And part of that would have been knowing this hospital's mortality rate."

She says if the rates were public information, hospitals would have an incentive to change. Jim Conway, from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, adds consumers need to know the data to hold hospitals accountable; and hospitals also need to know it, in order to make improvements.

"What we are not trying to do initially is to put a 'scarlet letter' on somebody, but we are seeking to improve performance."

If the state agrees with the Consumer Health Quality Council, Conway estimates it could take about a year to start releasing the information.

Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MA