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Oregon's Medical Facilities Report 624 Mistakes Last Year

Oregon's hospitals, nursing facilities, pharmacies and surgery centers reported 624 medical mistakes last year. But it's hard to know whether that's better or worse than previous years.

Oregon's eight-year old Patient Safety Reporting Program is voluntary. Medical facilities don't have to let the program know about surgical mistakes, falls or delayed care.

Bethany Walmsley, the director of the , said the voluntary nature of the program is an issue. But each year more facilities are participating and the quality of reports are improving, she said.

"The real goal for this is shared learning across the state of Oregon," Walmsley said. "What can we share that will help rise all boats and help people overcome and prevent those events from happening in their own facilities?"

About half of all mistakes reported resulted in serious harm or death for a patient.

And while many families may be told what happened, only 29 percent got written notification.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.