The New Jersey Senate unanimously passed a patient-safety bill that would require hospitals and other healthcare practitioners to report medical errors. The bill, which has been in the works for more than a year and was spurred by the medical malpractice debate, now moves to the Assembly. Sen. Joseph Vitale, a co-sponsor of the bill, said it could become law by the end of March. If passed, the bill would pave the way for the strongest reporting system in the nation "without fear of lawsuits," Vitale said. It would require hospitals to report all serious adverse events as defined by the law to an internal hospital committee and the state health department. Information generated by a hospital's internal committee would be shielded from legal discovery. With that key protection, the bill gained the support of the New Jersey Hospital Association, an association spokesman said. -- by Cinda Becker
N.J. patient-safety bill advances to Assembly
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