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    Monday, January 25, 2010


    Few states have instituted compulsory medical error admissions. William M. Sage et al., The Relational Regulatory Gap: A Pragmatic Information Policy For Patient Safety and Medical Malpractice, 59 Vand. L. Rev. 1263 (2006) noted that four states recently passed legislation requiring patients to be informed when they were the victim of medical errors. One state that has is New Jersey, which, in 2004, enacted the Patient Safety Act, N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.23 (PSA). This landmark legislation changed the way medical errors are dealt with in New Jersey by creating a legal duty to immediately disclose medical errors to patients who are harmed by them. N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25.

    Should The Law in New Jersey be the Same in Other States?
    Under the PSA, when the patient is a victim of a serious preventable adverse event, he or she must be informed no later than the end of the episode of care; or, if discovery occurs after the end of the episode of care, in a timely fashion. N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(d). A "serious preventable adverse event" is any adverse event that is preventable and results in death, loss of a body part, or disability or loss of bodily function either lasting more than seven days, or that is still present at the time of discharge. N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(a). In addition to requiring adverse events to be reported to the victims of medical malpractice, the PSA also requires health care providers to report medical errors to the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services (the Department). N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(c).

    On Jan. 24, 2008, the Department enacted regulations that gave teeth to the notification and reporting requirements of the Act. As of March 3, 2008 (for hospitals), Aug. 30, 2008 (for ambulatory care facilities, home health care agencies and hospice providers), and March 3, 2009, (for nursing homes and assisted living facilities), health care providers have five business days after discovery of a serious preventable adverse event to notify the Department that a preventable adverse event has occurred. N.J.A.C. 8:43E-10.1, N.J.A.C. 8:43E-10.6(b). The notification requires the inclusion of specific categories of information, including: 1) the date and time the event occurred; 2) a brief description of the event; 3) a statement about the impact of the event on the health of the patient; 4) the date and time the facility became aware of the event; 5) how the event was discovered; 6) the immediate corrective actions the facility took to eliminate or reduce the adverse impact of the event on the patient; and 7) what steps were taken to prevent the occurrence of future similar events. N.J.A.C. 8:43E-10.6(c).

    Failure to comply with these reporting requirements results in a fine of $1,000 a day. N.J.A.C. 8:43E-3.4(14).

    Please remember, as with all our articles we provide information, not medical advice.
    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.

    *Tune in later for Caution Not to Take Sertaline, Citalopram in Pregnancy Because of Link to Heart Defects in Offspring.

    Deepen your understanding of "medical malpractice"...

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