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Patient Safety in Washington

        In order to assure the quality of health care within the state, Washington has several patient safety initiatives that involve the reporting of data on health care acquired infections as well as adverse events.  The law requires hospitals to collect data on health care associated infections, and report this data to the Washington state hospital association’s quality benchmarking system and to the CDC.1  Similarly, in order to monitor and evaluate patient safety, Washington law requires medical facilities to notify the Department of Health of the occurrence of an adverse event (further defined in the statute).2  Information related to the adverse event report must remain confidential.3  The Department must contract with an independent entity to develop a web-based system for reporting instances of adverse events.4

        Instances of suspected or actual abuse or neglect in hospitals must also be reported to law enforcement or the Department of Social and Health Services.5  Individuals who submit reports on allegations of abuse and neglect must provide their own name and address of the name of the suspected patient abuse victim, the nature of the alleged injuries, evidence of prior injury, and any other relevant information.6  Furthermore, law enforcement agencies that receive such reports must send the report to the Department of Social and Health Services and other relevant law enforcement agencies (e.g. Medicaid fraud control unit). The Department also has a duty to forward any reports to relevant law enforcement agencies.7   

        Professional misconduct and allegations of malpractice also pose a risk to patient safety.  Therefore, the law requires a malpractice insurance issuer to submit a report to the Board of Medicine when more than $20,000 is paid out as a malpractice award or settlement on behalf of a physician.  The insurer must also submit a report to the board if three or more claims have been filed against the physician within a five-year period.8  Terminations or suspensions of practitioners’ privileges must be recorded and reported by hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.9

 

 

Footnotes

  • 1. Wash. Rev. Code §43.70.056
  • 2. Wash. Rev. Code §70.56.020
  • 3. Wash. Rev. Code §70.56.050
  • 4. Wash. Rev. Code §70.56.040
  • 5. Wash. Rev. Code §70.124.030
  • 6. Wash. Rev. Code §70.124.040
  • 7. Wash. Rev. Code §70.124.040
  • 8. Wash. Rev. Code §18.57.245; Wash. Rev. Code §18.71.350
  • 9. Wash. Rev. Code §70.41.210; Wash. Rev. Code §70.41.220; Wash. Rev. Code §70.230.120; Wash. Rev. Code §70.230.130

 

Patient Safety in Washington

Subtopic Statute/Regulation Description
Patient Safety Wash. Rev. code § 4.24.260 Health Professionals Making Reports Health professionals are immune from liability that may arise from making good faith allegations to a...
Wash. Rev. Code § 18.57.245 Insurer's report of malpractice payments A malpractice insurance issuer must submit a report to the board whenever they make a payment, on behalf of...
Wash. Rev. Code § 18.71.350 Report of malpractice payments by insurers A malpractice insurance issuer must submit a report to the board whenever they make a payment in excess of...
Wash. Rev. Code § 43.70.056 Data Collection and Reporting of Health Care Associated Infections Hospitals must routinely collect and submit data on health care associated...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.124.030 Reports of abuse or neglect All practitioners, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists, state hospital employees, and department of health...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.124.040 Reports to department or law enforcement agency — Action required Individuals reporting instances of patient abuse or neglect pursuant to 70....
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.230.080 Coordinated quality improvement — Rules All ambulatory surgical facilities must implement a “coordinated quality improvement program...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.230.110 Ambulatory surgical facilities — Submission of data related to the quality of patient care Ambulatory care facilities must submit quality data...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.230.120 Reports — Discipline of a health care provider for unprofessional conduct — Penalties Ambulatory surgical facility administrators must...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.230.130 Written records — Decisions to restrict or terminate privileges of practitioners — Penalties Ambulatory surgical facilities must maintain...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.41.200 Quality improvement and medical malpractice prevention program — Quality improvement committee — Sanction and grievance procedures...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.41.210 Duty to report restrictions on health care practitioners' privileges based on unprofessional conduct — Penalty Hospital administrators must...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.41.220 Duty to keep records of restrictions on practitioners' privileges — Penalty Hospitals must maintain records regarding the restriction or...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.56.020 Notification of Adverse Health Events When a medical facility confirms that an adverse event has occurred, it must submit to the Department of Health...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.56.040 Contract with independent entity The department of health must create, through contract with an independent entity, an internet based system for...
Wash. Rev. Code § 70.56.050 Confidentiality of Adverse Health Event Notifications When notification of an adverse event is made by a coordinated quality improvement program, a...
Wash. Rev. Code § 74.39A.051 Quality improvement principles The department of social and health service’s (“department”) quality improvement system for long-...