Deadline Noted for PA Medical Facilities to Comply with Reforms

July 11, 2002

An announcement by Pennsylvania’s PMSCO Healthcare Consulting, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, highlights the new safety provisions contained in the Medical Malpractice Reform Bill enacted earlier this year, and warns that many hospital facilities in the state may be unaware of new requirements affecting their procedures.

Act 13 established “important patient safety initiatives targeted at ambulatory surgical facilities, as well as birthing centers, and hospitals,” that require them to prepare and submit patient safety plans to the Pennsylvania Department of Health by July 18, said the announcement.

The plans mandate a series of components designed to reduce medical errors. These include:

— Designation of a patient safety officer;
— Establishment of a patient safety committee;
— Establishment of a system (accessible 24/7) for healthcare workers to report serious events and incidents;
— Non-retaliatory language for healthcare workers who report events or incidents (according to Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law), and
— Definition of the process by which written notification of serious events will be provided to patients.

“Act 13 is very clear in its requirements as it relates to patient safety plans,” stated Marcia Lammando, RN, BSN, MHSA, Director of Clinical Consulting for PMSCO. “However, there appears to be a lack of knowledge regarding Act 13 and the fact that ASFs are indeed included in these requirements,” she continued. “For this reason, we are trying to alert facilities and make sure that they are aware of the necessary components.”

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