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February 2008

Patient Safety Awareness Week: a tremendous cause, a terrific opportunity to launch our own!

We are proud to launch right in time for, and as an avid supporter of of, Patient Safety Awareness Week (occurring March 2nd - March 8th, 2008).

What is Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW)?
It is a national education and awareness-building campaign, developed by the National Patient Safety Foundation, for improving patient safety at the local level. Hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country are encouraged to plan events to promote patient safety within their own organizations. Educational activities are centered on educating patients on how to become involved in their own health care, as well as working with hospitals to build partnerships with their patient community. More information is available here.

How does this blog support the objectives of the program? We are dedicated to focusing on patient safety information, programs and solutions. In aggregating relevant, recent content on programs, protocols, developments, reports, resources, advocacy efforts and studies, our hope is that provides a platform to increase awareness of the critical issue of preventable medical errors--and through raising awareness, we significantly raise the bar.

How are we pushing for change? To improve patient safety practices and significantly decrease preventable medical errors necessitates communication as much as it does innovation. We hope the blog format also works to build conversation among patient safety advocates, media professionals, hospital administrators, insurers and those persons who have either themselves been affected by preventable medical errors or have loved ones that have.

Join the National Patient Safety Foundation and in increasing awareness of this important issue...after all, be you doctor, patient, insurer or advocate, it's in everyone's best interest to improve patient safety!

Turning the Tide? Insurers say "No Pay" to Preventable Medical Errors.

In what could be the turning point for the hospitals getting dramatically more diligent on preventing medical errors, Aetna and WellPoint have taken a bold, and needed, stance: no more paying for preventable medical errors.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal:

"The companies are following the lead of the federal Medicare program, which announced last summer that starting this October, it will no longer pay the extra cost of treating bed sores, falls and six other preventable injuries and infections that occur while a patient is in a hospital. The following year, it will add to the list hospital-acquired blood infections, blood clots in legs and lungs, and pneumonia contracted from a ventilator.

Private insurers are looking first at banning reimbursements for only the gravest mistakes. But health-insurance executives say it is only a matter of time before the industry also stops paying for some of the more common and less clear-cut problems that Medicare is tackling, such as hospital-acquired catheter infections or blood poisoning. "I'd rather have the cudgel in place first than push the list too far," says Aetna President Mark Bertolini.

Some hospitals and others are concerned that the new strategy could drive up medical costs in other ways as hospitals absorb or pass on the expense of introducing the safety and screening procedures needed to help avoid mistakes.

Ultimately, insurers say, the efforts will trigger safety improvements and savings for patients."

But the policy is not to save the insurers money, it's to save lives. According to, Thomas Granatir, director of policy and research at Humana, Inc.--which is working on a policy similar to Medicare's, "It's not a matter of not paying for them. It's about getting them not to happen in the first place."

Continue reading "Turning the Tide? Insurers say "No Pay" to Preventable Medical Errors." »

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