Financial restraints and questions about the usefulness of the CMS new proposed federally overseen patient-safety organizations means patient-safety groups arent likely to scramble to apply for the designation, patient-safety advocates said.
Nevertheless, the proposed rule guiding their development, released Feb. 12, was viewed as a good first step toward creating a venue in which providers can feel secure sharing patient-safety data, they said.
Patient-safety proponents heaved a collective sigh of relief that the proposed rule governing the federal PSOs finally was released, three years after the law enacting their creation was created. Its exactly the right thing to doit just took a long time, said Karen Linscott, acting chief executive officer of employer quality group Leapfrog Group. PSOs are a critical piece of infrastructure in patient-safety networks and will allow doctors to report and learn from adverse events on a case-by-case basis, which will lead to systematic facilities improvement and better healthcare outcomes, she said.
Patient-safety organizations as outlined by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 are designed to facilitate the creation of a national network of patient-safety information. Under the act, PSOs consult providers on adverse events and develop quality-improvement initiatives in confidential and privileged settings. Providers can voluntarily submit patient-safety data to PSOs, which will be required to contract with a variety of providers and aggregate their safety information to help identify areas of healthcare improvement.
For some, the PSOs will be redundant. New Hampshire is already doing what is laid out in the HHS rule and industry officials there dont see PSOs as having a big impact on that work, said Andrea Alley, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Hospitals there report data into the Health Care Quality Assurance Commission and develop safety protocols with their help. It does everything that the proposed rule states. Well be continuing to do the work that we do, Alley said.