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Hospitals Lagging on PSO Contracts

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 6, 2013

"That is why a provider that wants to take advantage of the nationwide, uniform Federal confidentiality and privilege protections of the Patient Safety Act, and to participate in the health exchanges, needs to contract with a federal PSO that is listed on the AHRQ PSO Web site," Munier wrote.

To qualify, he says, organizations must "have as their primary activity the conduct of activities to improve healthcare delivery, have qualified staff to aggregate and analyze the confidential data reported by providers, and they have the ability to maintain confidentiality and security of the data reported."

Munier says he has confidence that that those on the list of AHRQ-approved PSOs "have significant capacity" to expand to meet the needs of the large numbers of hospitals hoping to contract with health plans for health exchange offerings.

"The time-consuming element of contracting with a PSO will be a hospital's search for a PSO that represents the best 'fit' for its specific patient safety needs."

He explained that "in anticipation of the [PP]ACA requirement" AHRQ is working to identify additional information that will "assist hospitals narrow their search."

And, he added, "hospitals will not always need to start from square one. In some cases, hospitals can work with one of the more than a dozen PSOs that are either sponsored directly by their state or regional hospital association or jointly sponsored by professional organizations, including hospital associations.

"In other cases, a hospital may be able to look no further than its liability insurer as ore of these firms are sponsoring component PSOs to serve the needs of the facilities they insure."

Foster, however, questions why a hospital that already works with a state organization, such as the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, would have to also work with another organization. "Wouldn't that be wasteful?" she asks.

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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!