Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Clinton and Obama Pitch Patient Safety Approach to Liability Crisis

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Clinton and Obama Pitch Patient Safety Approach to Liability Crisis

Article excerpt

Two Democratic senators are aiming to move patient safety to the center of the medical liability debate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation that would provide grant funding for physicians, hospitals, and health systems to routinely report medical errors to a national database. In cases in which patients were harmed, the hospitals and physicians involved would disclose the error and offer to enter into confidential negotiations on compensation. Any disclosures and apologies from physicians would be considered confidential under the bill.

"For too long, our health care system has discouraged the kind of communication needed to find and correct the conditions that lead to medical errors," Sen. Clinton said in a statement. "Our bill puts patient safety first and creates an avenue for doctors and patients to find solutions outside of the courtroom."

The two senators recently touted the benefits of the bill, the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation Act (S. 1784), in a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In addition, medical liability insurers who participate in the program would be required to put a portion of any savings realized toward reducing physician premiums. …

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