The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would establish a system to collect information about medical errors and prohibit its use in malpractice and other lawsuits.
Under the legislation, providers would voluntarily report medical errors to the databanks, called patient safety organizations, and the PSOs would not reveal the names of the individuals who report or commit the medical errors.
The bill, H.R. 663, would prohibit the use of information contained in PSOs in lawsuits filed by patients against providers, but it would not prohibit the use of information currently available to patients.
"I believe H.R. 663 will help us move from a 'culture of blame' to a 'culture of safety' and ultimately increase patient safety," says Health Subcommittee Chairman Mike Bilirakis (R-Fla.), in a statement on the bill.
"One of the many recommendations that the Institute of Medicine made in its 1999 report To Err Is Human was that Congress should enact laws to protect the confidentiality of information collected as part of a voluntary medical error reporting system. That IOM recommendation represents the foundation of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act."