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Medical Errors and Patient Safety

Punitive Measures and Sanctions

  • •  Authority for Punitive Measures against Health Professionals
    • ◊  No Punitive Measures specific to Event Reporting – No punitive measures are identified as part of the reportable ‘event’ regulations except insofar as reportable events create an obligation by hospitals in WAC 246-320-145(11) to comply “with any other applicable reporting or notification requirements, such as those relating to law enforcement or professional regulatory agencies.
    • ◊  CQIP/Peer Review laws – The State of Washington addresses health professional issues via laws addressing CQIP, peer review, and Quality Improvement (RCW 4.24.250, RCW 43.70.510, and RCW 70.41.200).
  • •  Authority for Punitive Measures against Facilities
    • ◊  Facility Licensure – Regulations requiring reporting of ‘events’ were designed to address patient safety concerns in hospitals. The “investigation or review during the next . . . on-site licensing survey” [WAC 246-320-145(11)(b)] ties the reporting of these events to licensure.
    • ◊  Requirement for public disclosureEHB 1711 [PDF file], enacted by the legislature in 2000, addresses hospital disclosure but not punitive measures. Via this legislation, the results of annual licensing inspections and complaint investigations can be disclosed publicly. Every adverse event notification and complaint the Department of Health receives concerning patient well-being is investigated. Hospitals are required to post the department's toll-free complaint number. Hospitals are identified, but there is no identification of patients or health professionals involved in the care.
  • •  Penalty for Late Filing of Report – NOT MENTIONED
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