After several successful patient safety campaigns, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has been awarded a federal grant to pursue further efforts. The goal of the “Partnership for Patients” grant program is to reduce preventable hospital errors and ultimately improve healthcare and outcomes for hospital patients.
The federal government awarded the $1.6 million grant as part of a public-private partnership initiative. The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority will partner with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania on grant-supported programs over the span of two years. The three statewide initiatives the grant will focus on are wrong-site surgeries, adverse drug events and reducing falls.
These areas have already been the focus of successful regional initiatives. For instance, in one regional collaboration, all wrong-site surgeries were prevented in 19 healthcare facilities for over a year. In another regional effort, harmful falls were reduced by over 30 percent.
Potential Changes at the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority was established in 2002 as an independent state agency. The Governor, House and Senate leadership all appoint various members to the agency’s Board. The Board is currently comprised of nurses, doctors, attorneys, a pharmacist and a non-healthcare worker. The goal of the Authority is to reduce medical errors by analyzing reports from healthcare providers, identifying problems and developing solutions to improve patient safety.
The state is debating a proposal that would make the Authority part of the Department of Health. Patient safety advocates are concerned that such a move would have a chilling effect on the participation of healthcare facilities in voluntary collaborations with the Authority. By placing the Authority under the Department of Health’s umbrella, it would come under the control of the state regulator, and healthcare facilities could potentially suffer consequences for voluntarily revealing sensitive information.
Hopefully, the good work of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority will continue, and the agency will still be able to push for reforms to improve care and outcomes for patients across the state.