June 2000 Bulletin

3 ‘errors’ bills in Congress

Lawmakers take different approaches on reporting

Three bills have been introduced in Congress to find solutions to and prevent medical errors.

The Stop All Frequent Errors in Medicare and Medicaid Act of 2000, (S. 2378) bill would establish a nonpunitive medical error reduction and reporting system. It would require providers to establish safety programs to reduce errors, report deaths and serious injuries and disclose the names and addresses of facilities failing to comply with the reporting rules. The bill would establish a Center for Patient Safety within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Sponsors are Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, (D-Conn.); Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa); J. Robert Kerrey (D-Neb.); and Richard H. Bryan (D-Nev.).

The Medical Error Reduction Act of 2000 (S. 2038), introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) makes grants available to establish reporting systems designed to reduce medical errors. Fifteen demonstration projects would be established to determine the causes of errors; five would permit voluntary reporting to HHS; five mandatory reporting to HHS, and five mandatory reporting to HHS and the patient and family.

The Medication Error Prevention Act of 2000 (H.R. 3672) would provide voluntary reporting of medication error information. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) plans to introduce a medical

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