A patient safety advocacy group that works to reduce hospital mistakes such as wrong site surgery and adverse drug events has secured a grant of more than $1.5 million in a move that could have affect the group’s future.
The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority got $1.6 million in a partnership with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania in a federal grant program called “Partnership for Patients,” according to a statement from the authority. The federal grant is a public-private partnership initiative launched by the Obama administration to prevent patients from getting injured or sicker and help patients heal without complications while hospitalized.
The grant will be allocated over a two-year period and will fund three statewide initiatives to reduce falls, wrong site surgery and adverse drug events. The move to expand these programs statewide reflects successful regional efforts. One regional collaborative that involved 19 healthcare facilities stopped all wrong site surgeries in operating rooms for more than one year, while another regional collaborative reduced harmful falls by 31 percent, the statement said.
The programs initiated by the authority this year are training healthcare facility staff to investigate patient safety problems and using teamwork and communication to improve patient safety.
The grant comes as the state debates a budget proposal that calls for the Patient Safety Authority to be incorporated into the Department of Health in a move many believe would have a chilling effect on hospitals’ participation in the voluntary patient safety collaborations. The reason for the concern is that by making the authority part of the health department, it would come under the state regulator’s control and create the potential for some form of retribution to be exacted on healthcare facilities that volunteer sensitive data.
The Patient Safety Authority has said its independence means it has higher participation from healthcare facilities and therefore a greater impact on improving problematic areas and sharing best practices than similar authorities in other states that come under the authority of their health departments.
The authority was set up in 2002 during then-Gov. Mark Schweiker’s administration as an independent agency under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act in 2002.