Senate passes patient safety bill that would protect providers

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The U.S. Senate passed the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act. The bill would allow nursing homes and other health providers to report mistakes without the threat of legal action.

Dr. Dennis O'Leary, president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, said, "Allowing healthcare errors and serious events to be reported in a voluntary and confidential manner, without the threat of legal repercussions, will provide new opportunities for all of us to learn from mistakes."

The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in 2003.

Congress needs to reconcile the two measures before it's passed to President Bush to be signed into law.