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Capitol Health Call
October 9, 2002

Medical Error Reporting

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1709. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1709

A bill under consideration in the House would establish a national patient safety database and a new Center for Patient Safety at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Under the Patient Safety Improvement Act of 2002, physicians and other health care providers would be encouraged, but not mandated, to report all medical errors. Twenty states currently mandate reporting of serious errors.

Stripped of patient identification information, the national data could be used by public and private organizations to spot trouble areas and to recommend methods to decrease errors. However, debate over protections for those who report errors may stall the bill. In its current form, the bill does not shield those who make such reports from litigation.

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