Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) plans to introduce a stand-alone bill that would implement the Institute of Medicine's recommendations on patient safety.
Flanked by victims of medical malpractice, Braley, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said at a news conference he was “disappointed that the White House has not made patient safety a priority.”
The IOM's 1999 landmark report To Err is Human estimated that medical errors cost the nation $17 billion to $29 billion every year, and that preventable errors kill 98,000 Americans annually. Braley, in particular, is opposed to setting caps on medical malpractice damages in healthcare reform legislation, claiming such language hinders patients' rights.
Each of the respective healthcare reform bills contains certain provisions to promote patient safety and reduce errors, such as the establishment of accountable-care organizations, or ACOs, and electronic health records, he conceded. The premise of ACOs is to encourage doctors and hospitals to integrate care by holding them jointly responsible for Medicare costs and quality.
A method needs to be put in place, however, “to monitor medical errors and have a mandatory reporting requirement” of those errors, Braley said, adding he'd prefer to address the issue of patient safety in a bill separate from healthcare reform.