Press Release

ASHP Applauds Medical Error Reporting Bill

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) applauds legislation passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives that establishes a non-punitive system enabling health care providers to voluntarily report medical errors or near misses.  The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (S. 544) creates a legal framework to log errors, catalog reports, and identify trends, an essential element in creating a culture of safety to improve the quality of medical care.

 “This is a tremendous success for patients, as well as ASHP and the health care organizations that partnered with us to champion this important legislation,” said ASHP president Jill Martin, Pharm. D., FASHP, associate professor of pharmacy practice, University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy and director of transplant outcomes at University Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio.  “Patients in America will be safer when medical errors are reported so that others can learn to avoid them,” Martin said.

 ASHP has worked closely with Congress to develop this legislation, since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its 1999 report, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System.” The IOM report estimated that medical errors may cause nearly 100,000 deaths each year.

 “This legislation is an important step toward creating a fail-safe health care system,” said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., ASHP executive vice president and CEO.  “It is essential that pharmacists and other health care providers can share information when error happens, so that the events can be analyzed and prevented from occurring again.”

For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 30,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site, www.ashp.org, or its consumer Web site, www.SafeMedication.com.