Illinois Department of Health Deputy Director David Carvalho agreed this week to meet with leaders of eight powerful organizations representing patients, consumers and health care workers who sent a letter noting that they are “extremely troubled by the lengthy delays” in implementing several critically important health care quality initiatives. The letter was signed by AFSCME, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, Consumers Union, National Partnership for Women & Families, Parents of Infants and Children with Kernicterus, Patients for Patient Safety, PULSE and Save the Patient, all of which are Illinois-based or have constituents in the state. The meeting will likely take place later this month.
The letter specifically addressed three programs authorized by Illinois lawmakers to advance the safety and quality of health care:
- The Hospital Report Card Act mandates the collection and public reporting of hospital acquired infections and nurse staffing ratios. Passed five years ago, it still has not been implemented.
- The Illinois Consumer Guide to Health Care, which would provide consumer information on how well hospital and surgery centers perform on a variety of medical procedures and the cost of those procedures. It has been delayed for more than a year.
- The Illinois Adverse Events report, which would provide information on when and where adverse health events occur. It also is experiencing unexplained delays.
“The ambitious programs authorized by Illinois lawmakers have great potential to advance the safety and quality of healthcare, by breaking down barriers to transparency that inhibit providers and consumers working together effectively with a shared understanding of risk,” the letter said, in part. “Expedited implementation will prevent harm, and must move forward with deliberate speed.”
In the letter, the groups requested the meeting with Carvalho to discuss the timeline and process for publishing the guide and the two reports, and to identify ways to engage consumer organizations in the process.