US Supreme Court asked to review Kentucky Supreme Court decision about Patient Safety Act

April 20, 2015    |   By: Calevir

On March 20, 2015, the American Hospital Association and Federation of American Hospitals filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to review a Kentucky Supreme Court decision that could compromise Congress’ intent that the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 protect health care providers’ reports to patient safety organizations from discovery in litigation. The brief explains that patient safety organizations “can aggregate data from members; provide evidence-based analysis of the root causes of medical errors and near-misses; and propose systems-focused solutions to prevent future mistakes.” Recognizing that these objectives can be achieved only through broad-based participation by providers who can honestly assess their mistakes without fear of repercussions, Congress established federal confidentiality for reports to a PSO. The brief indicates the Act’s privilege is “a critical tool for improving patient safety,” and said the Kentucky decision “is particularly unwarranted” because medical records and traditional tools of discovery are available to plaintiffs to find out the facts underlying an incident.

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