The Pennsylvania House unanimously passed a bill to grant protections and confidentiality to anyone with privileges at a hospital who reports a medical error or a situation in which patient safety is compromised. The bill now goes to the state Senate. Under the bill's provisions, the state's Patient Safety Authority would establish and maintain a toll-free hotline to take reports that would be investigated, and the authority would issue a response. The independent state agency, established in 2002 to help eliminate medical errors, could impose a fine of up to $5,000 on a healthcare facility, and whistleblowers would be granted immunity from civil liability for filing a complaint. Identities of complainants would be kept confidential until the investigation was complete and sanctions were recommended. Separately, the authority is implementing a mandatory statewide patient-safety reporting system in three phases. More than 400 healthcare facilities are required to submit reports by June 28. -- by John Morrissey
Pa. eyes another big step to better patient safety
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