Medical device executive turned patient safety advocate Joe Kiani told a U.S. Senate committee on healthcare Tuesday that the government can do more to stop preventable deaths in hospitals, including adding harsher payment penalties if a patient dies as a result of a preventable medical error or infection.
Kiani, the CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based patient monitoring firm Masimo (NSDQ:MASI) and founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, spoke along with administrators from the Centers for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to a packed chamber at the Senate Health, Education and Labor & Pensions committee meeting on patient safety yesterday.
In a set of 5 recommendations submitted as part of written testimony, Kiani and the Patient Safety Movement submitted several suggestions the group hopes will have an impact on reducing the number of patients who die as a result of preventable medical errors and infections. The recommendations include creating greater transparency, providing incentives for medical device companies to share the data their devices collect and, in some cases, disincentives for hospitals and EHR companies.
One of the strongest disincentives proposed was reserved for for hospitals lacking comprehensive error prevention strategies.
"We believe Congress should expand the current HAC Medicare policy to include a list of causes for preventable deaths. We believe Congress should suspend payment for even the primary condition until it is determined whether the cause of death was preventable," Kiani said. "If preventable, and the hospital has implemented evidence based strategies for prevention … the hospital would receive payment for the primary condition. If the hospital has not implemented the strategy, then payments for both the primary and secondary conditions would be denied."
Hospitals are not paid for readmission as a result of medical error or hospital acquired infections, but they are reimbursed for the primary condition listed when the patient was admitted.
Kiani also renewed his call for medical device companies to open up and share device data, which he admitted has always been difficult for medtech companies.
"In the past, my own company has been guilty of hoarding our data," he told the Senate panel.
But Masimo has since evolved its stance on data and is leading an effort to get more companies to follow it’s lead. In January, 7 companies, including GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE), Cerner (NSDQ:CERN) and Zoll Medical (NSDQ:ZOLL), pledged to share data with an eye toward improving patient safety.