Guest Article in the

Senators Clinton and Obama have written an article about the need for patient safety for the New England Journal of Medicine.

The opening paragraph: “We have visited doctors and hospitals throughout the country and heard firsthand from those who face ever-escalating insurance costs. Indeed, in some specialties, high premiums are forcing physicians to give up performing certain high-risk procedures, leaving patients without access to a full range of medical services. But we have also talked with families who have experienced errors in their care, and it has become clear to us that if we are to find a fair and equitable solution to this complex problem, all parties – physicians, hospitals, insurers, and patients – must work together. Instead of focusing on the few areas of intense disagreement, such as the possibility of mandating caps on the financial damages awarded to patients, we believe that the discussion should center on a more fundamental issue: the need to improve patient safety.”

The Senators propose to pass legistation to address this issue. According to the article, “[t]his legislation would create an Office of Patient Safety and Health Care Quality within the Department of Health and Human Services. The director of this office will be responsible for establishing a National Patient Safety Database, conducting data analyses to inform policy and practice recommendations, establishing and administering the National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) program, and supporting studies related to MEDiC and the medical liability system.”

Read the entire article here.