Much of the National Patient Safety Foundation's funding comes, not surprisingly, from organizations with a vested interest in aligning themselves closely with safety initiatives: drug companies, health and malpractice insurers and the American Medical Association.
The AMA co-founded the organization in 1996 along with CNA HealthPro, 3M Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., each of which donated $1 million.
Since then the foundation has come to rely more heavily on program revenue-most of which comes from registration fees and sponsorships for its annual Patient Safety Congress each spring-and government grants for its operating expenses, says Timothy Flaherty, the foundation's chairman. It receives "no continuous corporate sponsorship," he says.
Even so, its list of contributors includes 10 drug companies and health insurers, according to its 2002 annual report.
Money from the AMA and corporations is earmarked for special projects or grants, Flaherty says. The foundation aims to award $500,000 in grants annually for patient-safety research projects. One example is $50,000 for a University of Florida study on the transitions in care that occur during shift changes in emergency rooms.
The foundation took in $2.5 million in revenue during 2002, including $1.8 million in contributions, gifts and private grants, according to its Form 990 IRS filing. It received another $366,000 in government grants and $286,000 from program registration fees.
It spent $1.7 million on programs, $740,000 on salaries and general expenses and $460,000 on fund raising, while posting a net loss of $385,000. Its 48 directors, half of whom are nominated by the AMA, receive no compensation.