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Public and Private Policy
Medical Errors and Patient Safety


  • •  Disclosure to Patient

    The State of Florida mandates that both physicians (§456.0575, FS) and health facilities (§395.1051, FS) notify the patient or the patient's representative, “in person about adverse incidents that result in serious harm to the patient.” In situations of sexual assault, the risk manager is required to “notify the family or guardian of the victim, if a minor, that an allegation of sexual misconduct has been made and that an investigation is being conducted.” (§395.0197(9)(c), FS)

    With the passage of this law in 2003, the State of Forida joins nine (9) other states through 2005 with laws or regulations that monitor or mandate notification of patients or family of a reported event. Whereas the State of South Carolina regulations SC Code Regs. 61-91-601(A) mandate reporting in the Ambulatory Surgery Center setting only, regulations in Maryland were promulgated for hospitals only. As part of the regulation adopted by Connecticut [PDF] in 2004 was an Adverse Event Reporting Form [PDF] that included separate data entry for facilities to indicate 1) whether notification of patients and/or the authorized representative occurred, and 2) the date of notification. Therefore, even though Connecticut has no law mandating disclosure to a patient, this reporting form is approved by regulations of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, which intends to monitor this issue.

    Similar to Florida, broad disclosures of an “incident” or “event” to the patient or patient's family is specifically addressed by statutes in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

  • •  Public Disclosure: Information related to ‘adverse event’ reporting that is available to the public includes:
    • ◊  No Disclosure of identified information by AHCA

      The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) publishes “ . . . on the agency's website, no less than quarterly, a summary and trend analysis of adverse incident reports received pursuant to this section, which shall not include information that would identify the patient, the reporting facility, or the health care practitioners involved. The agency shall publish on the agency's website an annual summary and trend analysis of all adverse incident reports and malpractice claims information provided by facilities in their annual reports, which shall not include information that would identify the patient, the reporting facility, or the practitioners involved.” [§395.0197(8), FS]

    • ◊  Reports of Professional Liability

      The report of a claim or action for damages for personal injury which is required to be provided to the Department of Health under s. 456.049 or s. 627.912 is public information except for the name of the claimant or injured person, which remains confidential as provided in ss. 456.049(2)(d) and 627.912(2)(e). The Department of Health shall, upon request, make such report available to any person. The department shall make such report available as a part of the practitioner's profile within 30 calendar days after receipt.” (§456.051, FS) This information is available on the Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) ‘Practitioner Profiling’ websites.

    • ◊  Reports of Professional Bankruptcy

      As part of the same law, (§456.051(2), FS), any information in the possession of the Department of Health which relates to a bankruptcy proceeding by a practitioner of medicine, an osteopathic physician, a podiatrist, or a dentist is “public information”. It is available on the ‘Practitioner Profiling’ websites.

    • ◊  Identification of Facility and Practitioners Under Investigation for ‘Adverse Incident’

      As part of §456.081, FS, “The department and the boards shall maintain a website which contains . . . information relating to adverse incident reports without identifying the patient, practitioner, or facility in which the adverse incident occurred until 10 days after probable cause is found, at which time the name of the practitioner and facility shall become public as part of the investigative file . . .

    • ◊  Inspection Reports of Facilities:

      0395.0162, FS provides that all records of all inspection reports pertaining to that facility should be available upon request.

  • •  Provider Identification
    • ◊  ID of Medical Facility.

      Except as noted in public disclosure above, neither the Medical facility ID or HMO ID are publicized or made available to the public, unless a probably cause for investigation following an ‘adverse event’ is determined by the AHCA. Medical facilities and HMO are not identified in the Medical Errors Resolution And Tracking Programs.

    • ◊  ID of Physician

      The physician is included in the process of a medical facility's risk management program. If the physician is involved with an ‘adverse incident’ subject to a probable cause for investigation by the AHCA, the provider is identified within 10 days, and the name of the practitioner becomes public as part of the investigative file. All legal, malpractice, and disciplinary actions are available for every provider at the Provider Profiling website. The physician ID is withheld only from the Medical Errors Resolution And Tracking Programs.

  • •  Content of Report

    Reports on aggregate facility data for ‘adverse incidents’ are available at the website for the Medical Errors Resolution And Tracking Programs. The identifications of patients, health professional providers, hospitals, and HMOs are not included in these reports. Reports include annual reports, quarterly reports, and Code 15 Reports for health facilities and ambulatory surgery centers, which includes HMOs.

    These Medical Errors Resolution And Tracking Programs reports should not be confused with the Internal Risk Management Program Reports that are provided as part of the Internal Risk Management program. These reports are confidential and provided legislative protections from discovery. [§395.0197(6)(c), FS]

  • •  Other disclosable Information

    §395.0056, FS stipulates that upon notice of a complaint for medical malpractice action against a facility, the “the agency shall . . . [r]eview its adverse incident report files pertaining to the licensed facility . . ” This disclosure is provided only to the AHCA.

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