Protecting Hospital Patients: Public Hearing Monday

October 16, 2009

(New York, NY)- New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, Chair of the  Senate’s Committee on Health, and New York State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Health, announced a joint hearing on improving patient safety in New York State to be held Monday, October 19, 2009, at 10:00 A.M.
This hearing will focus on how State health officials and hospitals in New York address the problem of medical errors and other adverse events.  Since 1985, New York has required hospitals to report and initiate actions based on adverse events occurring in their facilities.  In 1998, New York created the New York Patient Occurrence and Tracking System (NYPORTS) which is still in use today.

Witnesses scheduled to appear at the hearing include New York City Comptroller William Thompson, Arthur Levin of the Center for Medical Consumers and Betsy McCaughey of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths as well as associations representing hospitals, hospital pharmacists, trial lawyers and nurses.  Other patient advocates and family members of injured patients will also testify.

“Accurate and complete reporting of events is essential if NYPORTS is to accomplish its goal of improving quality of care,” said Senator Duane. “Unfortunately, problems of underreporting by hospitals have plagued NYPORTS since its inception.  The  New York Daily News’ investigative report this past summer as well as New York City Comptroller William Thompson’s recent report, The High Costs of Weak Compliance With the New York State Hospital Adverse Event Reporting and Tracking System, have raised serious questions about whether there is adequate oversight of hospitals’ compliance with this system.”

“We need to know how well NYPORTS is working to protect patients,” said Assembly Member Gottfried.  “No level of patient injury in our hospitals is acceptable.  We need to make sure hospitals adopt best practices and learn from experience.  A system that promotes full reporting is a necessary first step, but only the first step.” 

Senator Thomas K. Duane, Chair, Committee on Health
Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, Committee on Health
Public Hearing regarding Improving Public Safety in New York Hospitals
Monday, October 19, 2009, at 10:00 A.M.
250 Broadway, 19th Floor, Assembly Public Hearing Room, New York, NY  10007
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