Providers applaud new patient safety law

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Providers praised President Bush for signing into law the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act.

"With the quality of nursing home care in America on the rise, this new law can help us continue our progress, because improving patient safety is integral to improving care quality," said American Health Care Association President CEO Hal Daub.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that as many as 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors. The new law implements many of the IOM's recommendations for reducing medical errors and establishes a framework for providers to voluntarily report medical errors to patient safety organizations, which would then use a network of computer databases to analyze the information and make recommendations on ways to improve healthcare.

"A key element of the new law is the fact it would prevent this new data and information from being used against providers in civil and administrative proceedings, disclosed pursuant to Freedom of Information Act requests, or used to carry out adverse personnel actions," Daub noted.