New House bill aims to establish National Patient Safety Board
Do no harmBill will create Healthcare Safety Team

New House bill aims to establish National Patient Safety Board

The new agency will augment the work of federal agencies

(Jewish Healthcare Foundation logo)
(Jewish Healthcare Foundation logo)

If the Pittsburgh-based Jewish Healthcare Foundation has anything to say about it, patients might soon have less concern over the possibility of medical errors.

That’s because earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-California) introduced H.R. 9377 — the National Patient Safety Board Act — a piece of legislation to establish an independent federal agency dedicated to preventing and reducing health care-related harms.

The law would create a nonpunitive, collaborative, independent agency modeled in part after the National Transportation Safety Board and Commercial Aviation Safety Team to address safety in health care.

The new agency will augment the work of federal agencies and long-standing patient safety organizations, according to JHF officials. It will create the Healthcare Safety Team, a public/private partnership to gain consensus on patient safety measures, autonomous data collection technologies and solutions.

The NPSB will focus on problems like medication errors, wrong-site surgeries, hospital-acquired infections, errors in pathology labs and issues in transition from acute to long-term care.

A national coalition of various stakeholders, led by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, has advocated for H.R. 9377.

PRHI was founded in 1998 as an operating arm of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. It is one of the nation’s first regional collaboratives of medical, business and civic leaders organized to address health care safety and quality improvements as a social and business imperative.

“The Foundation’s work through the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative has focused on the problem of preventable harm in health care for decades,” Karen Wolk Feinstein, president and CEO of the JHF and the PRHI, and spokesperson of the NPSB Advocacy Coalition, told the Chronicle. “But in all my years addressing this issue of medical errors, I have not seen a coalition like this come together and unite around a common, focused direction. It reflects a lot of work — all of it is somewhat unprecedented for us — but always reassuring and invigorating. The pandemic has created a new crisis with the resignations and retirements of frontline health care workers, creating a frightening increase in medical errors. The time for a national entity focused entirely on preventing harm before it occurs is now.” PJC

—David Rullo

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