The Patient Safety & Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (S. 544), was signed by President Bush on July 29th..
BNA’s U.S. Law Week reports that “the law creates a system for voluntary reporting by health care providers of medical errors to patient safety organizations, and provides legal privilege & confidentiality protection to ‘any data, reports, records, memoranda, or analyses” developed by a PSO or prepared by a health care provider and delivered to a PSO.” (Bill Summary)
A report done by the Congressional Research Office back in March said both House and Senate versions of this legislation were in response to a 1999 Institute of Medicine publication, To Err Is Human, which had found that “medical errors are primarily the result of faulty systems, processes, and conditions that lead people to make mistakes, and recommended establishing a national mandatory reporting system to hold hospitals accountable for serious medical errors, as well as voluntary, confidential ones for reporting errors that result in little or no harm …”
The Report states that 22 states already mandate medical error reporting by hospitals. Additional information on state activity can be obtained on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ and National Academy for State Health Policy’s websites.