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New Patient Safety Proposed Regulation Aims to Improve Health Care Quality and Patient Safety
Date:2/12/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A proposed regulation to improve the quality and safety of health care for all Americans by fostering the establishment of Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) was announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

PSOs are private entities recognized by the Secretary to collect and analyze patient safety events reported by health care providers. They are new and separate from all currently existing entities that are addressing health care quality.

The creation of PSOs has been called for by the Institute of Medicine and would help improve the quality and safety of health care in several key ways. PSOs would allow for the voluntary reporting of patient safety events without fear of new tort liability. In addition, they would encourage clinicians and health care organizations to voluntarily share data on patient safety events more freely and consistently. Under the proposal, PSOs can collect, aggregate and analyze data and provide feedback to help clinicians and health care organizations improve health care quality.

"Patient Safety Organizations will help make health care safer for all Americans," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "By making it easier for patient safety events to be reported and the lessons learned from them to be shared more broadly, patients will ultimately receive safer health care."

The authority to list, or formally recognize, PSOs was established by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. While the statute makes patient safety event reporting privileged and confidential, it does not relieve clinicians or health care organizations from meeting reporting requirements under federal, state or local laws. However, the statute and the proposed regulation address an important barrier that currently exists -- the fear of legal liability or sanctions that can result from discussing and analyzing patient safety events. '/>"/>

SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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