JUNE 28, 2012

Welcome to the Patient Safety Update eNewsletter
This issue sponsored by The Quality Colloquium

Medical Imaging Safety Legislation Introduced
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced the Consistency, Accuracy, Responsibility, and Excellence in Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Act of 2012 on June 25. The Bill (see summary at http://www.modernhealthcare.com/assets/pdf/CH802626
) would require operators of imaging equipment to meet education, certification and licensure requirements of entities HHS designates. Bi-partisan supporters point to both safety benefits and potential cost savings from the reduction of unnecessary repeat tests. (ModernHealthcare.com, June 26, 2012)

Private Organizations for Patient Safety
The World Health Organization's (WHO) Clean Care is Safer Care program launched Private Organization for Patient Safety in May 2012 to work with private industry companies that focus on hand hygiene-related products. This initiative was announced on the annual celebration of the "WHO SAVES LIVES: Clean Your Hands" campaign. (World Health Organization, June 2012)

How Safe Is Your Hospital?
"Approximately 400 people die every day because of hospital errors - the equivalent of a jet crashing every day and killing all aboard." So begins the June 6th LeapFrog report announcing the release of a Hospital Safety Score™ in the form of letter grades. These scores are intended to "...make informed decisions about where to seek care, and take the right precautions during a hospital stay..." according to Leah Binder, LeapFrog's President and CEO. Near half of the 2,652 hospitals receiving grades scored C or less. David Knowlton, immediate past chair of The Leapfrog Group Board of Directors and Chair of The Leapfrog Group's Patient Safety Committee, said, "It is time for a game changer. It's time to give American families the heads-up they need to protect themselves if they face the need for a hospital stay." (The LeapFrog Group, June 6, 2012)

Big Hospitals Get -- and Dispute -- Poor Patient-Safety Grades from Leapfrog
The LeapFrog Group's scoring of hospitals has gained much attention, both positive and negative. The American Hospital Association has questioned the report. This Wall Street Journal piece, for example, notes that such major institutions as New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center, BJC HealthCare in St. Louis and the Cleveland Clinic all received C grades. LeapFrog's methods are being criticized as outdated or inappropriate. Some of the hospitals feel they have been penalized for not continuing their participation in the voluntary collection of data. (Wall Street Journal Health Blog, June 7, 2012)

Could the Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling Kill Patient Safety Reforms?
The Affordable Care Act contains many provisions intended to improve quality through reporting on injuries and mistakes in hospitals linked to incentives for physicians and other providers. This article reports on Facebook discussions with some 700 users as well as interviews with a variety of experts on the impact of potential changes to patient safety should all or part of the ACA be struck down by the Supreme Court. (Scientific American, June 15, 2012)

Current Awareness Literature Alert, June 2012 #1
The National Patient Safety Foundation routinely publishes alerts on matters requiring attention. This link is to the June issue of their newsletter. Member login (free) is required for details. (National Patient Safety Foundation, June 22, 2012)

How to Improve Medication Quality and Reduce Errors and Costs
The Institute of Medicine estimates that more than 1,500,000 Americans are harmed or killed as the result of medication errors each year costing an estimated $3.5 billion. Chronis Manolis, Vice President, Pharmacy, for UPMC Health Plan, outlines key steps for reducing these dangerous and costly errors. (Smart Business, June 5, 2012)

The Joint Commission's New Speak Up™ Video Highlights Patient Rights

The Joint Commission has released the seventh episode in its animated video series "Speak UP™" entitled "Speak Up: Know Your Rights." The video as well as many other resources can be found on the site provided by this link.

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Patient Safety: A Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan Approach

Allan M. Korn, MD, FACP
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Chicago, Illinois