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Hospitals Lagging on PSO Contracts

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 6, 2013

The federal patient safety mandates are an effort to find a solution to a problem identified in the Institute of Medicine's 1999 report, To Err Is Human, which said hospitals' efforts to improve quality and safety were hampered because they didn't share when things went wrong, or came close.

But Foster laments that the industry lacks clarity on the extent to which they will be required to work with such a PSO. Those PSOs qualifying are so designated by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which has approved only 77 such organizations so far.

That might be enough. But Foster says, "if you look at the PSOs that they've designated, many of them are very restrictive in terms of what they cover. For example, there's one blood banking organization, but they're only interested in errors related to blood use."

Other PSOs appear to focus only on pediatric care, or only on breast cancer care, or anesthesia safety issues, or vascular surgery.

CMS has yet to clarify the situation for hospitals and health plans and it's unclear when and if the agency will issue regulations on how the provision of the PPACA will be enforced. A spokeswoman for CMS's Office of Communications said the agency could not say when such a regulation might be issued.

That's "problematic," Foster says, because "this is a complex issue. Lots and lots of details need to be worked through in order to make that small phrase in the [PP]ACA come to life. We have yet to see anything on it. We haven't seen any preliminary indication of what CMS is thinking at all. And this is a complex area."

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2 comments on "Hospitals Lagging on PSO Contracts"


Jim (6/12/2013 at 11:20 AM)
One major hurdle is CMS insistence that they be allowed to view data that a provider could make PSWP under the PSQIA. The PSQIA clearly states that incident reports and RCAs can be PSWP. PSWP cannot be shared with regulating agencies such as CMS but CMS demands these documents. They have stated that participation with CMS is voluntary but really? In today's environment is not accepting Medicare/Medicaid patients viable for any large hospital?

Becky Miller (6/6/2013 at 6:24 PM)
Glad to see this article raising national awareness about this obscure ACA provision. While the Center for Patient Safety's 140+ hospital participants have been hearing this from us for some time and are prepared, many hospitals will be caught offguard.PSO participation takes education and policy evaluation that need careful consideration and time; time well worth it for providers to be able to work together to share causes of error in healthcare and continually learn how to prevent harm!