Patient safety advocates propose new federal agency

More than three dozen health systems, patient safety organizations and nonprofit groups are calling for the creation of a federal agency focused on reducing preventable harm.

Preventable medical errors cause about 250,000 deaths annually, and little progress on improving patient safety has been made over the last 20 years, according to the 41 groups backing the initiative.

"The primary reason is that these improvements do not have one federal agency to independently determine why the adverse events are occurring and create solutions to prevent recurrence," they said.

The organizations have proposed a national patient safety board that functions similar to the federal National Transportation Safety Board. The board would study adverse events in healthcare and develop solutions that could be broadly implemented to reduce medical errors.

Roanoke, Va.-based Carilion Clinic, Seattle-based Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine are among the health systems involved in the effort.

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