The House Ways and Means Committee voted in favor of legislation that would create a national system to track medical errors, sending a bill to the full House. Under the bill, which overwhelmingly passed the committee, hospitals would voluntarily collect and report medical-error data that does not identify patients to patient-safety organizations, which would aggregate the information for the provider community. A new Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, operating under the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, would certify patient-safety organizations and provide technical assistance to states. Hospitals would not be allowed to take disciplinary action against caregivers who report errors. Supported by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, among other groups, the legislation would not preempt state laws governing medical-error disclosure. At least one committee member expressed concern about rural hospitals? ability to afford the reporting systems necessary to participate. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. William Frist (R-Tenn.) and James Jeffords (I-Vt.). -- by Jeff Tieman
Medical error bill goes to full House
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