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Capitol Health Call
December 12, 2007

Patient Safety Law Adrift

JAMA. 2007;298(22):2611. doi:10.1001/jama.298.22.2611-b

Finalized regulations for the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, signed into law in 2005, have yet to be issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D, Mass) wants to know why.

Once it is in operation, the law will establish a confidential reporting structure in which health care professionals can voluntarily report information on errors. The legislation is intended to balance confidentiality and legal protections for those reporting errors while maintaining accountability and patients' legal rights.