9/6/2000

ASHP Applauds White House Action on Medication Error Prevention

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has a long history of advocacy in the area of medication error prevention. This leadership is borne out by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's recommendation to Congress that pharmacists should play a critical leadership role in preventing medication errors and creating a fail-safe medication-use system.

We are pleased that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report has helped bring national attention to this important health issue." We look forward to working with the task force appointed by President Clinton to analyze the IOM report and with Congress as both groups pursue solutions that will help reduce the incidence of medical errors," said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., executive vice president and chief executive officer of ASHP." We believe that the voice of pharmacy is essential to the creation of a fail-safe medication-use system, and ASHP's track record on patient safety will ensure that pharmacists are heard." 

Current ASHP initiatives addressing the prevention of medication errors include: 

  • A partnership with the ASHP Research and Education Foundation on a research project designed to develop, implement, and test a fail-safe medication-use system. 
  • The appointment of Patricia Lee, M.S., as Practitioner-in-Residence. Lee is analyzing existing systems and helping develop the ideal characteristics of medication-use systems in hospitals and health systems. 
  • Immediately sending a communication to all of the nation's hospital and health-system CEOs and pharmacy directors on the top-priority areas of focus for improving medication-use systems. 
  • Several educational sessions at the 34th Annual Midyear Clinical Meeting in Orlando, Fla., dealing with medication error prevention, including an Open Hearing on Re-engineering the Medication-Use System held Wednesday, Dec. 8. 
  • A leadership role in the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners (JCPP) efforts to advance the recommendations made by more than 100 professionals at JCPP's multidisciplinary conference on re-engineering the medication-use system held last October. We are also working with the Harvard Executive Session on Medical Error and Patient Safety to build on the progress made at the conference. 
  • Working with affiliated state societies as state regulators begin implementing the reporting recommendations made by IOM.

ASHP, based in Bethesda, Md., is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term-care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medications. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is a national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. 

December 8, 1999 

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500 

Dear Mr. President: 

On behalf of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), I support your executive memorandum directing federal agencies to adopt techniques for reducing medical errors for Americans who receive health care via the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as health care delivered through the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and health plans for federal civilian employees. ASHP has been actively involved for decades in promoting a fail-safe medication use system for hospitals and other components of our nation’s health system. ASHP is ready to assist the federal interagency task force to develop meaningful recommendations and strategies to implement error reduction techniques. ASHP is the 30,000 member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. In addition, ASHP is represented on the governing board of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), a multidisciplinary group of health care professionals, institutional providers, manufacturers, researchers, legal advisors, consumer advocates, regulators and policy makers. Both ASHP and NPSF are identified as key catalysts in the prevention of medical errors throughout the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." 

In general, ASHP applauds the analysis and recommendations in the IOM report and looks forward to helping define and establish a national commitment to resolving this issue. Of particular interest to ASHP are the IOM's recommendations dealing with mandatory and voluntary reporting systems, extension of peer review protections to data about patient safety and quality improvement, requiring health care organizations to implement meaningful patient safety programs, and a greater role for the Food and Drug Administration in the pre- and post- marketing process. 

Our extensive comments to the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in April 1998 on its proposed Conditions of Participation for hospitals detail our approach to reducing medication errors in hospitals and other components of health-systems. Notably, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's June 1999 report to Congress incorporated that approach verbatim in its recommendations for HCFA. These comments should serve as a blueprint for federal agencies to address this critical issue. 

We look forward to working with federal agencies as they move forward to significantly reduce medical errors for all Americans. Please call on us; we stand ready to help. 

Sincerely, 

Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer

December 8, 1999

The Honorable Albert Gore, Jr.
Vice President of the United States
Office of the Vice President
Old Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20501 

Dear Mr. Vice President: 

On behalf of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), I support President Clinton's executive memorandum directing federal agencies to adopt techniques for reducing medical errors for Americans who receive health care via the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as through the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense and plans for federal civilian employees. ASHP has been actively involved for decades in promoting a fail-safe medication use system for hospitals and other components of our nation's health system. ASHP is ready to assist the federal interagency task force to develop meaningful recommendations and strategies to implement error reduction techniques. ASHP is the 30,000 member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. 

In addition, ASHP is represented on the governing board of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), a multidisciplinary group of health care professionals, institutional providers, manufacturers, researchers, legal advisors, consumer advocates, regulators and policy makers. Both ASHP and NPSF are identified as key catalysts in the prevention of medical errors throughout the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." 

ASHP is ready to lend its assistance to the Administration's interagency task force as it develops strategies over the next 60 days to implement the recommendations of the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System." Of particular interest to ASHP are the IOM's recommendations dealing with mandatory and voluntary reporting systems, extension of peer review protections to data about patient safety and quality improvement, requiring health care organizations to implement meaningful patient safety programs, and a greater role by the Food and Drug Administration in the pre- and post- marketing process. 

We look forward to working with federal agencies as they move forward to significantly reduce medical errors for all Americans. Please call on us; we stand ready to help. 

Sincerely, 

Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer


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