HHS proposes rule to jump start Patient Safety Act

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tuesday published a proposed rule to implement certain aspects of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act).

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the rule proposes regulations that establish a framework by which hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers may voluntarily report information to patient safety organizations (PSOs), on a privileged and confidential basis, for analysis of patient safety events.

The proposed regulations also outline the requirements that entities must meet to become PSOs and the processes for the HHS Secretary to review and accept certifications and to list PSOs.

In addition, the proposed regulation establishes confidentiality protections for the information that is assembled and developed by providers and PSOs, termed "patient safety work product" by the Patient Safety Act, and the procedures for the imposition of civil money penalties for the knowing or reckless impermissible disclosure of patient safety work product.

In January, Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called for an investigation by the Government Accountability Office to determine why the law was not in effect, according to Health Data Management.

The initial proposed rule can be viewed at gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.