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Media Update: News from the Maryland Patient Safety Center

For Further Information
Contact Patricia Montone Charvat,
978.273.7764, cpcharvat@aol.com

MPSC Named a Federal Patient Safety Organization
Action Expands Study of Medical Errors

Monday, December 15, 2008—The Maryland Patient Safety Center today announced that it is one of the first 25 organizations in the nation to be listed as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under provisions of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.* This listing allows the Center to enhance its efforts to study and reduce medical errors among participating health care providers.

Since its inception almost five years ago, the Maryland Patient Safety Center has worked with providers and researchers to build a voluntary reporting system for the evaluation and prevention of medical errors. The federal PSO listing reinforces and expands the Maryland Patient Safety Center’s ability to provide a safe environment where clinicians and health care organizations can collect, aggregate, and analyze data that enable the identification and reduction of risks associated with patient care.

This federal listing follows the redesignation of the Maryland Patient Safety Center by the Maryland Health Care Commission in late November 2008 as the State’s patient safety center for an additional five years, beginning January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2014.

“This new federal listing is yet another step in our journey to making Maryland health care the safest in the nation,” said William Minogue MD, FACP, Executive Director of the Maryland Patient Safety Center.  “We are honored and pleased that AHRQ recognized our organization as a federal PSO.”

The Maryland Patient Safety Center was established by the Maryland Legislature in 2003 and first received the state designation in 2004. In September 2007, the Center became an incorporated organization, with the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care continuing to act as primary members of the Center. 

During its first five years, health care providers in the state have partnered with the Maryland Patient Safety Center to make patient safety a top priority. Signature achievements include:

  1. Received the 2005 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for national/regional innovation in patient safety.
  2. Created an Adverse Event Reporting System that explores patterns and trends related to medical errors and near misses that occur in health care facilities. With this information, the Center deploys improvements in systems and processes of care. Eighty-five (85) percent of hospitals contribute to the Adverse Event Reporting System.
  3. Engaged and trained more than 9,000 health care professionals about safety strategies and tools that have transformed Maryland’s hospitals.  In addition, the Center is working with 85% of Maryland hospitals in breakthrough collaborative programs.
  4. Improved outcomes and processes of care, including dramatic reductions in ventilator associated pneumonia and catheter-related blood stream infections during its Intensive Care Unit Collaborative, resulting in an estimated 140 lives saved and $40,775,070 in avoided costs; the first state-wide collaborative on reducing infant and maternal harm in labor and delivery; and other improvements related to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

*NOTE:  The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act) authorized the creation of Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) to reduce the incidence of events that adversely affect patients. PSOs are designed to improve the quality and safety of U.S. health care by encouraging clinicians and health care organizations to report and share—voluntarily—data on patient safety events without fear of legal discovery.

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About the Maryland Patient Safety Center
The Maryland Patient Safety Center, jointly supported by the Maryland Hospital Association and the Delmarva Foundation, brings together hospitals and health care providers to improve patient safety and health care quality for all Marylanders.  The goal of the Patient Safety Center is to make Maryland's health care the safest in the nation by focusing on the systems of care, reducing the occurrence of adverse events, and improving the culture of patient safety at Maryland health care facilities.  For further information, visit www.marylandpatientsafetycenter.org