Magazine article Drug Topics

Patient Safety Organizations Still Very Much in Planning Stage

Magazine article Drug Topics

Patient Safety Organizations Still Very Much in Planning Stage

Article excerpt

To improve patient safety, the federal government is creating independent reporting agencies that will collect and disseminate data about medical errors, including medication errors, while protecting the privacy and potential liability of the professionals reporting them. Named patient safety organizations (PSOs), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking comments on proposed rules for their implementation, which is anticipated sometime early next year.

"I have promised the secretary (of Health & Human Services) to move very quickly on this," said Carolyn Clancy, M.D., AHRQ director, in a recent audio conference call, "and that's what we intend to do."

Proposed rules have been published in the February 12 Federal Register and AHRQ is seeking public comment. "What Congress is seeking is to create federal-level agencies guaranteeing that what you say cannot be used against you," said Kasey Thompson, Pharm.D., director of practice standards and quality for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. "It remains unclear exactly how that will be done."

Goal of PSOs

The design and scope of the PSOs are indeed in flux, but their purpose is clear: They are mandated under the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 to look for trends and feed patient safety data back to the Healthcare community. Under that law, public and private entities, for-profit or nonprofit, can seek listing with AHRQ as a PSO.

The law prohibits insurers from becoming PSOs, however, and the current Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) prohibits public and private entities with regulatory authority over providers, such as accreditation and licensure bodies, from becoming these bodies.

Existing organizations that collect safety data are eligible. …

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