Rhode Island lawmakers have passed legislation that would create a database for voluntary tracking of medical errors by healthcare providers and insurers. The bill, which still requires the governor's signature, would also establish a 14-member care advisory committee to review database findings and create quality improvement strategies. The patient safety group including the database would be a public/private partnership funded by annual fees paid by hospitals, nursing homes, health insurers and reporting agencies. Annual costs for running the group are estimated at just under $600,000. State and federal agencies would not be required to contribute annual fees.
In anticipation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's "never events" policy that goes into effect later this year, Rhode Island joins a growing number of states--including Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts--and carriers including Blue Cross-Blue Shield that have adopted strategies to track and prevent medical errors.
Patient safety organizations also are growing beyond the borders of the United States. This Wednesday, the World Health Organization will formally launch its own a patient safety strategy designed to prevent medical errors.