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Press Release


Maryland Patient Safety Center Is Established
Center to address medical errors in hospitals and nursing homes

BALTIMORE, MD (June 18, 2004) - The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) today announced the selection of the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and the Delmarva Foundation (Delmarva) to jointly develop and run the new Maryland Patient Safety Center. The two organizations will provide funding for the patient safety center for three years.

"Maryland is one of the first states in the country to pioneer an initiative such as this and we hope this effort will achieve real progress in improving health care safety through education," said Donald E. Wilson, MD, MACP, chairman of the MHCC. "It provides us with a vehicle where health care providers like hospitals and nursing homes can work together to study the causes of unsafe practices and put practical improvements in place."

The activities of the Maryland Patient Safety Center will take a non-regulatory, collaborative approach to bring providers together to develop and implement strategies and systems to improve safety. Utilizing the Veterans Health Administration's model for improving safety, the Center will host a confidential data repository for errors and near misses in care delivery, as well as serve as the primary facilitator for education and collaboration among health care providers.

"This is part of a multi-pronged strategy," said Barbara McLean, Executive Director of the Maryland Health Care Commission. "The Patient Safety Center supplements the state's current regulatory and statutory requirements for hospitals and nursing homes to report errors resulting in death or serious disability to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the disciplinary activities of the professional boards.

The Center will also involve the participation of the two organizations representing nursing homes in Maryland, the Health Facilities Association of Maryland and Mid Atlantic LifeSpan; and the schools of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.

The Patient Safety Center is scheduled to begin operating this summer, and will initiate data collection systems by early next year. It is anticipated that patient safety initiatives will expand from hospitals and nursing homes to include ambulatory surgery centers and other care settings after the initial three-year period.

"We are very pleased that MHA and Delmarva both shared our vision of developing a Center to promote safer health care practices and stepped up to the plate with funding for three years," Ms. McLean said. "It will allow us over time to attract additional funding from outside philanthropic organizations that are not interested in funding operational aspects of the center."

The Center's concept is based on the recommendations laid out in the Institute of Medicine's report, 'To Err is Human,' released in 1999. The MHCC was given authority to designate the Center through legislation sponsored by Delegate Brian McHale and passed in 2003.

Both MHA and Delmarva have been leaders in patient safety and quality initiatives. The MHA represents all of Maryland's hospitals and has been recognized for its involvement in quality of care and patient safety through the MEDSAFE initiative (a state-based program designed to reduce medication errors), their Quality Indicator Project, and educational activities through the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI).

Delmarva Foundation, a national not-for-profit quality improvement organization, has been working with hospitals, physicians, home health agencies and nursing homes in Maryland for more than 30 years. As Maryland's Medicare quality improvement organization (QIO), Delmarva works to ensure that healthcare providers offer Medicare recipients the highest caliber of care. Delmarva also is responsible for the implementation and ongoing improvements to the MHCC Hospital Performance Evaluation Guide.

Dr. William Minogue, former Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Suburban Hospital, has been named Director of the Center, which will be housed in MHA's not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) research subsidiary, LogicQual Research Institute.

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