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Final Rule Issued for Patient Safety Organizations
Date:11/21/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule for Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs).

The rule becomes effective on Jan. 19, 2009. It provides final requirements and procedures for PSOs, new entities, with which clinicians and health care providers can work to collect, aggregate and analyze data - within a legally secure environment of privilege and confidentiality protections - to identify and reduce patient care risks and hazards.

"I expect the final rule and the creation of Patient Safety Organizations to greatly improve the quality of health care for all Americans," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "By making it easier for clinicians and health care organizations to report and learn from adverse events without fear of new legal liability, we will be able to improve our nation's health care systems and minimize factors that can contribute to mistakes."

Under interim guidance issued on Oct. 8, AHRQ has already listed 15 PSOs. During the remainder of the interim period, these organizations will maintain their status as PSOs. However, these and other PSOs listed throughout the interim period are expected to comply with the final rule once it takes effect.

"The Patient Safety Organization final rule describes the clear, legally protected framework for how hospitals, clinicians, and health care organizations can work together to improve patient safety and the quality of care nationwide," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

The listing of PSOs is authorized by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act). The Patient Safety Act is intended to encourage voluntary, provider-driven initiatives to improve the safety of health care through the establishment of legal protections to ensure that providers who report patient safety information do not incu
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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