Rhode Island lawmakers have approved and sent to the governor patient-safety legislation that would create a database for voluntary reporting of medical errors by healthcare providers and insurance companies. The legislation would also establish a 14-member care-advisory committee to review the database findings and create quality-improvement strategies, according to a news release.
Under the legislation, hospitals, nursing homes, health insurers and various reporting agencies would pay an annual surcharge to fund a patient-safety organization that would be responsible for carrying out the initiatives goals. Lawmakers estimate the organization's annual budget at less than $600,000, and state-funded providers, Medicare and Medicaid would be exempt from the surcharge.
The creation of a Patient Safety Organization would complement the existing reporting requirements and regulatory oversight of the health department, said Rhode Island Department of Health Director David Gifford in a written statement. It creates an opportunity for us to identify best practices and ensure that system safeguards and checks and balances are in place to prevent errors from occurring.
Rhode Island law already requires mandatory reporting of medical errors by healthcare facilities, but state officials hope the added initiative would help reduce the unacceptable high number of preventable patient-safety events, according to a news release.