Lawmakers want study of doc hours, error rates

A group of ranking U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee members are asking HHS for a new study of the relationship between physician schedules and medical errors. The group, which has been conducting ongoing research into preventable medical errors, includes committee chairman John Dingell (D-MI), ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX), and Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI.) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY). The legislators are asking the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to fund an Institute of Medicine study shedding more light on the connection between physicians' work schedules and their propensity for making medical mistakes. The new research would follow up on a 2006 study by AHRQ which found that interns who worked longer hours made more mistakes.

To learn more about the proposal:
- read this United Press International item
- read the lawmakers' letter to AHRQ (.pdf)
- see Rep. Dingell's press release

ALSO: Rep. Dingell has just introduced a new bill which would improve dental coverage for low-income children relying on Medicaid and SCHIP for care. Release