In attempting to describe the work of an Institute of Medicine committee (July 18, p. 18), your reporter confused his facts. He was correct to state that the IOM study will focus on the nation's nurse staffing needs and the degree to which having more nurses in hospitals and nursing homes might improve quality of care in these settings as well as reduce stress and work-related injuries.
However, it must be made clear that the IOM is not a federal agency, and the study group, therefore, is not a federal commission. This is an extremely important point because the IOM was asked to undertake this study as a private, nongovernmental organization for the purpose of offering independent policy advice.
The IOM committee's work is a completely unrelated undertaking from the national nursing commission that concluded its work in 1989. That commission was a federal initiative. Again, the IOM panel is not. Likewise, the box accompanying the article that lists the IOM committee members and their affiliations is titled incorrectly. It should have been titled "Members of the IOM Committee on the Adequacy of Nurse Staffing."
Regarding the liaison panel membership, this information is public, and we readily provide it upon request, as well as the full list of committee members and the committee's statement of work.
GOOLOO S. WUNDERLICH
Institute of Medicine, Washington